Heart and Blood Conditions

Atrioventricular 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.

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    • 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 Atrioventricular Septal Defect

Atrioventricular (AV) septal defects range from small to large. Small defects might cause only mild symptoms. It depends on how much blood is moving between the heart's chambers is a way that is not normal.

AV septal defects can cause symptoms such as these:

  • Fast breathing
  • Shortness of breath or working hard to breathe when feeding
  • Arrhythmia  
  • Sweating, particularly with feeding in infants
  • Failure to thrive  
  • Trouble exercising
  • Fatigue
  • Palpitations  

Most children with AV septal defect have symptoms within the first several weeks after birth. Rarely, some may develop symptoms later in childhood.

If not repaired, AV septal defect can lead to serious health problems, like high blood pressure in the lungs and heart failure.

Atrioventricular Septal Defect Diagnosis

To diagnose this condition, your doctor will examine your child, check their heartbeat and listen to their heart. In children with AV septal defect, doctors can often hear a heart murmur.

The doctor will ask for details about any symptoms your child has, their health history and your family health history.

Your child will likely need other tests, such as echocardiography, an electrocardiogram or chest X-rays.

They may need other tests that provide more information about how their heart looks and works. These might include an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the heart and cardiac catheterization.

Contact Us

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