By Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.
When David Redmon was born in 1962, his physician realized that David was no ordinary little boy. He had a congenital heart problem that at the time had virtually no treatment that could fix the defect. No one knew how long he would be able to survive. In 1970, Dr. Alan Lansing performed a pulmonary stenosis on 8 year old David which alleviated some of the heart’s stress. He’s been followed carefully for the last 18 years.
Fast forward, David, who owns Redmon’s Lawn Service manages our yard for us. David’s love for the outdoors helped him to develop his business. He prided himself on his physical capabilities and honestly, if you would him work outdoors one would never know that he was having any health issues at all. However, he was having a heart condition that needed immediate resolution. David said the right side of his heart was very enlarged from over beating because of the stress of the original heart defect. On December 14, 2010, 48-year old, David, underwent a nonsurgical Atrial Septal Defect Closure to finally correct the defect.
The procedure was performed by Interventional Cardiologist, Thomas Tu, MD, with Louisville Cardiology. Dr. Tu, a Harvard trained physician, was the only local interventional cardiologist that was certified in performing this delicate procedure at the time. (My son, Geoff, an Interventional Cardiology Fellow, is learning the procedure in his program at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis).
What is the Atrial Septal Defect Closure?*
Atrial septal defect closure is a nonsurgical closure of atrial septal defects. In the past, open heart surgery repaired these defects. In the atrial septal defect closure procedure, the cardiologist inserts a small, thin, flexible tube (catheter) into the blood vessel in the groin and guides it to the heart using X-ray imaging. The cardiologist uses echocardiograms which are detailed ultrasound pictures to determine the size of the patch needed and to implant the device over the hole. Patients can receive either local or general anesthesia during the procedure. Once the catheter is in the heart, the cardiologist then passes a device made of metal and a special fabric called a septal occluder into the atrial septal opening. The device then opens to cover the hole and at the same time secures itself in place permanently.
After the procedure, David said he is taking 325 mg of aspirin daily also Plavix, which helps to prevent clots, for 60 days after the procedure. He went home the day after the procedure. Dr. Tu told him to take a few rest days but no heavy lifting for at least 2 weeks. This nonsurgical procedure sure beats having your chest being fillet open and the long recouperation period. David boasted that his heart was back to normal size fairly quickly after the procedure.
Risks are much lower than in open heart surgery but about the same as having any cardiac catheterization. According to the Mayo Clinic, rare risks include clot formation, bleeding, infection, perforation and arrhythmias. After the procedure, David must be evaluated regularly by his cardiologist.
*Information from http://www.mayoclinic.org/atrial-septal-defect/asddevice.html
Image from: www.mayoclinic.org
Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N, is a registered dietitian who has been teaching healthy lifestyles strategies to consumers for over 35+ years.