Heart and Blood Conditions

Atrial Septal Defect Symptoms and Diagnosis

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    • For appointments in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Federal Way, Olympia, Tri-Cities and Wenatchee, call 206-987-2515.
    • For appointments in Tacoma and Silverdale, call 253-272-1812.
    • For appointments in Alaska, call 907-339-1945.
    • How to schedule

    If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

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  • Locations +

    • Seattle Children's Main Campus: 206-987-2515
    • Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center: 425-454-4644
    • Everett: 425-304-6080
    • South Clinic in Federal Way: 253-838-5878
    • Olympia: 360-459-5009
    • South Sound Cardiology Clinics: 253-272-1812
    • Tri-Cities (Richland): 509-946-0976
    • Wenatchee: 509-662-9266
    • Pediatric Cardiology of Alaska: 907-339-1945
    • Seattle Children's doctors provide many cardiac services at regional sites throughout the Pacific Northwest. See our complete list of Heart Center locations.

  • Refer a patient +

    • If you are a provider, fax a New Appointment Request Form (NARF) (PDF) (DOC) to 206-985-3121 or 866-985-3121 (toll-free).
    • No pre-referral work-up is required for most conditions. If you have already done testing such as an EKG, Holter monitor or echocardiogram, please fax this information as well as relevant clinic notes and the NARF to 206-985-3121 or 866-985-3121 (toll-free).
    • Your patient will be seen as quickly as possible by the provider who is the best match for managing the current problem.
    • View our complete Heart Center Referral Information (PDF).

Symptoms of Atrial Septal Defect

A small atrial septal defect (ASD) may cause no symptoms at all until later in childhood or adulthood.

A larger defect may cause symptoms soon after birth, such as:

  • Feeling tired quickly when playing
  • Breathing fast
  • Having to work hard to breathe (shortness of breath)
  • Having abnormal heartbeats
  • Feeding problems
  • Poor weight gain
  • Frequent lung (respiratory) infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis

Large defects that aren’t treated can increase the risk for certain heart or blood problems later in life, such as heart failure, stroke and high blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension).

Atrial Septal Defect Diagnosis

To diagnose this condition, your doctor will examine your child, check their heartbeat and use a stethoscope to listen to their heart. In children with ASD, doctors can often hear an abnormal heart sound or heart murmur — a noise caused by the flow of blood through the opening from the left side of the heart to the right. The doctor will ask for details about your child’s symptoms, their health history and your family health history.

The doctor will then ask for diagnostic tests such as a chest X-ray, echocardiogram or electrocardiogram.

Your child may need other tests that provide more information about the ASD, size of the heart or blood vessel connections to the heart. These tests may include cardiac catheterization or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

Contact Us

Contact the Heart Center at 206-987-2015 for a cardiac referral, a second opinion or more information.