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Atrial Septostomy Surgery for Pulmonary Hypertension

Atrial septostomy surgery might be an option for some people who:

  • Have right heart failure, despite trying other medical treatments.
  • Are awaiting transplant.
  • May not be a candidate for transplant.

Surgeons usually perform this procedure to increase the person’s chance of survival until a transplant is available.

What to Expect During Atrial Septostomy Surgery

A surgeon puts a catheter with a balloon on the tip through the wall between the upper chambers (atria) of the heart to make a hole.

This allows blood to pass from the right side of the heart to the left side and bypass the lungs, which have high resistance due to pulmonary hypertension.

This procedure alleviates the pressure on the right ventricle of the heart.

After surgery, usually the oxygen levels in the blood fall, but the heart failure improves.

Atrial septostomy is only done under special circumstances, when doctors believe the benefits outweighs the risks. It only relieves symptoms and is not a permanent solution for pulmonary hypertension.