Atrial septal defect closure in the elderly is associated with excellent quality of life, functional improvement, and ventricular remodelling

Can J Cardiol. 2011 Nov-Dec;27(6):698-704. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2011.04.003. Epub 2011 Oct 5.


Background: While atrial septal defect (ASD) closure is known to improve morbidity and mortality in children and adults, data are only beginning to emerge about its role in elderly cohorts. The goals of this study were to compare outcomes after device or surgical closure of ASDs in the elderly, and to quantitatively assess quality of life.

Methods: Patients>60 years old who underwent ASD repair were studied. Functional status, arrhythmia burden, biventricular size and function were compared before and after ASD closure. Quality of life after ASD closure was assessed with the RAND SF-36 instrument.

Results: Sixty-seven patients, mean age of 68 years (range 60-86 years), were followed for 3.3 years. Nineteen percent underwent surgical closure and 81% underwent device closure. Major complication rates were 23% and 7% respectively with no procedure- related deaths. After surgical and device closure, quality of life was comparable to age-matched healthy controls, right ventricular end-diastolic dimension decreased by 10 mm (P<0.001), left ventricular end-diastolic dimension increased by 4 mm (P=0.001), biventricular function improved (right ventricular, P<0.001; left ventricular, P=0.007) and New York Heart Association class improved (P<0.001). Prevalence of atrial arrhythmias however, was unchanged. Beneficial effects were similar for patients treated surgically or with device closure.

Conclusions: Given the favorable structural, functional, and quality of life outcomes after ASD closure in the elderly, advanced age alone should not be a contraindication to recommending surgical or device closure of an ASD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Septal Defects, Atrial / physiopathology
  • Heart Septal Defects, Atrial / psychology
  • Heart Septal Defects, Atrial / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventricular Function, Left / physiology*
  • Ventricular Remodeling / physiology*