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About This Procedure

Advances in medicine allow many patients with congenital heart conditions (conditions originating before birth), such as atrial septal defect, to live longer, healthier lives. As these patients reach adult ages, many require additional procedures to treat their congenital heart conditions.

Physicians at the Massachusetts General Hospital Corrigan Minehan Heart Center perform atrial septal defect repair to treat some patients with this congenital condition. Although many patients can be treated with a catheter-based approach by an interventional cardiologist, some patients with larger defects require traditional surgery.

Surgeons at the Mass General Hospital Corrigan Minehan Heart Center are experts in evaluating and performing minimally invasive surgical procedures to treat congenital heart conditions. After making smaller incisions to open the chest and breastbone to expose the heart, the surgical team opens the heart to find the defect. Minimally invasive procedures tend to provide patients with a quicker recovery time, less blood loss and even a cosmetic benefit.

Often surgeons can simply close the defect at this point, but if the defect is particularly large, he or she might take a piece of the pericardium (the sac surrounding the heart) to use as a patch.