Per-catheter devices for atrial septal defect (ASD) closure have been evolving since 1974. The four major devices available for use on a limited basis in early 1997 are reviewed. These include (in alphabetical order) the Angel Wing device, the ASDOS device, the Buttoned device, and the CardioSeal device (successor to the Clamshell). Sufficient data have been collected to indicate that transcatheter ASD closure is a viable alternative to surgery in selected patients. The advantages of the concept of per-catheter closure over surgical closure should lead to the continued development of devices and techniques for per-catheter treatment of ASD and other septal defects in the years to come.