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.

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 July 28, 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 July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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