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Can a hole in the heart shrink by itself?

Q: My 5.5 months old daughter is having an atrial septal defect (ASD) 10 x 8 mm size in left to right slot. Will this hole fill/shrink itself after some period of time? Can she lead a normal life with this hole?

A:ASD is a fairly common defect. There is really no need to panic, as we do not advise closure of ASDs before 2-3 years of age. There is a very small chance that an 8-10 mm hole will close spontaneously but since we have time we can only hope that this will happen. There is no medical therapy, which will help close holes. At 2-3 years, if we finally decide that this hole has to closed then it will be either by surgery or by a non surgical technique (device delivered by catheter technique) The long-term outlook is excellent and we would expect this child to have an absolutely normal life even in the event that this hole has to be closed.


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