Objective: To assess the current outcome of surgical closure of secundum atrial septal defects (ASD) in an Australian paediatric population.
Methodology: A retrospective chart review of 87 children, aged 2 months to 15 years, was performed for surgery between August 1995 and March 1999.
Results: There were no deaths in the patients studied. Approximately one in four patients (24.1%) experienced complications requiring further management. Complication rates were similar to those published previously. However, one in nine patients (11.5%) required surgical drainage of a pericardial effusion. A total of five of 87 (5.7%) patients developed post-pericardiotomy syndrome (PPS), of whom four required pericardiocentesis. The risk for developing a pericardial effusion requiring drainage or PPS was more than twice in children older than 5 years of age at the time of surgery compared to those aged under 5 years, although there was an insufficient number of subjects in the study to prove this statistically (Odds ratio 2.31).
Conclusions: Most patients have an uncomplicated postoperative course following surgical closure of secundum ASD. However, a significant minority (24.1%) do develop complications requiring further management and have a correspondingly longer period of hospitalization. Patients older than 5 years of age were identified as being potentially at greater risk for the development of PPS or a pericardial effusion requiring drainage. Further research needs to be performed to clarify this.