Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Early Intervention Key To Repairing Hole In Heart Disease

Date:
March 18, 1999
Source:
University Of Toronto
Summary:
Patients with atrial septal defects -- a hole in the top chamber of the heart -- should have reparative surgery without delay rather than wait for symptoms to appear at a later age, according to a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine by researchers at the University of Toronto Congenital Cardiac Centre for Adults.

Patients with atrial septal defects -- a hole in the top chamber of the heart -- should have reparative surgery without delay rather than wait for symptoms to appear at a later age, according to researchers at the University of Toronto Congenital Cardiac Centre for Adults.

Related Articles


In a paper to be published in the March 18 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers have put an end to the ongoing debate about when to treat congenital atrial septal defects (ASD) that cause the right chamber of the heart to enlarge.

"Scientists have long said reparative surgery was unnecessary until the patient started showing symptoms, usually at a later age," says lead author Dr. Michael Gatzoulis, a senior fellow in U of T's department of medicine and a staff cardiologist at the Toronto Hospital (TTH). "We have shown this is wrong, and that surgery earlier in life will actually prevent future symptoms."

Because patients often live symptom-free until middle-age, these defects are often only found by chance, during an electrocardiogram or other examination. "In a previous era, we were only able to pick up these defects at a more advanced stage of the disease," says senior author Dr. Louise Harris, assistant professor in U of T's department of medicine and a staff cardiologist at TTH. "Now we're able to detect them earlier and restore normal blood circulation by closing the hole early enough to hopefully prevent arrhythmia."

One in one hundred Canadians is born with some form of congenital heart disease, with atrial septal defects being the most common form. ASD patients are born with a hole in the wall between the top collecting chambers of the heart which causes the blood to shunt, or flow, from the left to the right chamber. The right side of the heart eventually enlarges as it must work harder to keep the extra blood flowing, leaving the patient with an irregular heart beat or palpitations. Other symptoms include fatigue, lung damage, heart failure and stroke.

"It's clear that people in their 30s or 40s who feel like they've slowed down considerably and who have palpitations, should see a cardiologist. The longer you go without the surgery, the larger your heart becomes and the more likely it is that even after you fix it, you're going to have ongoing or further rhythm problems," Gatzoulis adds.

Researchers examined 213 adult patients (82 men, 131 women) who had undergone surgical closure of hole defects -- the most common congenital heart surgery in adults -- at TTH between 1986 and 1997. The group ranged in age from 16 to 80, with the mean age at 41. Older patients reported a higher incidence of persistent or new arrhythmia following surgery than those under 40. While these older patients also benefit from closure, Gatzoulis says they will require closer monitoring and many will require lifelong blood thinning medication.

"Another observation to come out of this research is that our surgeons are doing a tremendous job. We found zero mortality in roughly 300 consecutive operations involving all of the surgeons at the hospital. That's a pretty impressive record." The University of Toronto Congenital Cardiac Centre for Adults at the Toronto Hospital is the oldest and largest such clinic in the world and is a member of the 15-centre group called the Canadian Adult Congenital Heart (CACH) Network.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Toronto. "Early Intervention Key To Repairing Hole In Heart Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 March 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990317110223.htm>.
University Of Toronto. (1999, March 18). Early Intervention Key To Repairing Hole In Heart Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990317110223.htm
University Of Toronto. "Early Intervention Key To Repairing Hole In Heart Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990317110223.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Following the closure of schools and universities in Guinea because of the Ebola virus, students look for temporary work or gather in makeshift classrooms to catch up on their syllabus. Duration: 02:14 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Says It Will Scale Up Its Ebola Response

UN Says It Will Scale Up Its Ebola Response

AFP (Nov. 20, 2014) UN Resident Coordinator David McLachlan-Karr and WHO representative in the country Daniel Kertesz updated the media on the UN Ebola response on Wednesday. Duration: 00:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Reuters - US Online Video (Nov. 20, 2014) U.S. Congress hears from a victim and company officials as it holds a hearing on the safety of Takata airbags after reports of injuries. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins