How does a baby get a hole in its heart?

As a baby’s heart develops during pregnancy, there are normally several openings in the wall dividing the upper chambers of the heart (atria). These usually close during pregnancy or shortly after birth. If one of these openings does not close, a hole is left, and it is called an atrial septal defect.

Is it normal for a baby to have a hole in their heart?

Before birth, all babies have a natural hole between the upper chambers of the heart. This hole is called fossa ovalis. In most babies, the hole closes before birth as a natural flap seals shut. In some cases, this sealing will not occur until a week, or even several months, after a baby is born.

What causes a baby to be born with a hole in the heart?

Ventricular septal defects happen during fetal heart development and are present at birth. The heart develops from a large tube, dividing into sections that will eventually become the walls and chambers. If there’s a problem during this process, a hole can form in the ventricular septum.

Is a hole in the heart serious?

A Look at Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)

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However, once born, this hole naturally closes at birth and if it doesn’t, the hole that continues to exist is known as a PFO. This type of hole is often small in size, and, in most cases, the only effect of a PFO is blood leaking between the right and left chambers.

How long does it take for the hole in a baby’s heart to close?

The foramen ovale (fuh-RAY-men oh-VAL-ee) is a normal opening between the upper two chambers (the right atrium and left atrium) of an unborn baby’s heart. The foramen ovale usually closes 6 months to a year after the baby’s birth.

How do you treat a baby’s heart hole?

Sometimes surgery is needed to repair the hole. Sometimes medications are prescribed to help treat symptoms. There are no known medications that can repair the hole. If a child is diagnosed with an atrial septal defect, the health care provider may want to monitor it for a while to see if the hole closes on its own.

What are the signs of hole in heart?


  • Shortness of breath, especially when exercising.
  • Fatigue.
  • Swelling of legs, feet or abdomen.
  • Heart palpitations or skipped beats.
  • Stroke.
  • Heart murmur, a whooshing sound that can be heard through a stethoscope.

Can a hole in the heart cause death?

Hole in the heart causes many defect-related deaths. But due to advancements in health care, these deaths are steeply declining with the increasing survival chances. As many ASD’s close on their own during the early birth year of the child.

Can you live a long life with a hole in your heart?

It is very possible to live with a hole in your heart, without ever realising that it’s there. A patent foramen ovale, also known as a PFO, is a hole between the left and right atria (upper chambers) of the heart that we all have when we are in the womb, but this should close shortly after we’re born.

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Do babies with heart defects sleep more?

The heart must pump faster to meet the body’s needs. The body’s metabolism is also faster under these conditions. Your child needs extra calories to maintain weight and grow. Your child may become tired quickly since the body is working harder under the stress of the heart defect.