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atrial septal defect

atrial septal defect in Medicine

atrial septal defect n.
A defect in the interatrial septum of the heart, due to failure of the embryonic foramen to close normally.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for atrial septal defect

congenital opening in the partition between the two upper chambers (atria) of the heart. The most common atrial septal defect is persistence of the foramen ovale, an opening in this partition that is normal before birth and that normally closes at birth or shortly thereafter. The opening in the atrial septum results in the flow of blood from the left atrium to the right, causing enlargement of the right atrium and ventricle and of the main pulmonary artery. The usual treatment, the surgical closure of the defect, is sometimes made hazardous by serious disease of the pulmonary vessels.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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