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Hole in the Heart: What Happens Next?

By: Kathryn Senior PhD - Updated: 4 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
Heart Disease Hole In The Heart Chambers

Q.I am 28 years of age and female. Today I had a 'Bubble Study' test which has confirmed a hole in my heart. I didn't see the specialist today, as they are waiting for all my test results before my next appt, (I had the works today!).

I heard them mention a patch when they had completed the test, but am unsure as to whether this means I am probably going to require surgery. I know I should wait to speak to my specialist, but I'm obviously a little shocked to find something wrong, and wondering what to expect now?

(V.M, 26 June 2009)


It is actually not that uncommon for adults to be diagnosed with a hole in the heart. The condition is a type of congenital heart disease – so you have had this from birth – and it must be a very small hole as you have reached the age of 28 without it being detected. Similar holes have been diagnosed in people of 80!

Small holes in the heart usually occur in the septum between the two atria, the upper, smaller chambers of the heart. This is where the hole is in all our hearts during the time we are growing in our mother’s uterus. The circulation in a growing baby comes from the umbilical cord and through the heart in a completely different way to normal post-birth circulation. In most babies, the circulation re-routes at birth and the hole closes up. In some children, the hole remains open, and these babies have to have surgery to correct the problem quite quickly. In others, and you probably fall into this category, the hole closes up but leaves a tiny hole still there. This can go undetected until well into adulthood.

It is a shame that the medical team could not discuss the implications of your test with you on the day, having told you that the hole was definitely there. I hope that you can arrange to see them soon as this will put your mind at rest about the course of treatment you might need.

It may be that you don’t need any treatment. It depends on how large the hole is and whether it is causing you any problems. If you have been feeling unwell, and that was the reason for the tests in the first place, it is good that the problem has been identified. If you do need treatment, it may be surgery, or it may not. Patches to close holes in the heart can be inserted in a less invasive procedure in which the instruments are guided to the heart through the blood vessels – in a similar way to balloon angioplasty procedures. If you are feeling fine, there is a very good chance that you may be monitored but no treatment will be required.

Try to get an early appointment to find out what is going to happen in your case but try not to worry in the meantime.

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hi im a 47 year old male i suffered a stroke last august which has left me with slight left side weakness. after many MRI and ultra scans i was given a BUBBLE GRAPH back in November 2016 at the time i was told by the cardiologist consultant who carried out the test if i was her patient she would operate asap, but was told to wait for my consultant In December i received a letter from my hospital confirming that it was URGENT for me to see a specialist, i had to chase up the hospital and my GP to be told an appointment will be made as soon as they can i have now got myappointment for June 1st 2017 ( thats what they call URGENT) does anyone know what treatment or fix they do as this has been playing on my mind for sometime now and as its finally getting closer a large piece of me is getting slightly nervous. THANKS
donkey - 17-May-17 @ 8:08 PM
I have had 3 aortic valve surgeries first one at 27, 31 and 48. Now they think there's a hole in heart, what would that hole be and caused from.
Sandy - 16-May-17 @ 10:21 PM
Hlooo dr. plzz help me In my heart a small hole my age is 16 now
kajal - 20-Apr-17 @ 10:10 AM
I have a hole in my heart my age is 19 years plz give me suggestion that it will cure by med or by surgery
Mrs woww - 12-Apr-17 @ 12:57 PM
poonam - Your Question:
I am 52 yrs old. I have 38 mm hall in my heart. Left to right side asd. Doctar told us to do open heart surgery and he said that its very risky. Pls tell me what should I do or which hospital is best for open heart hall surgery I am from delhi.

Our Response:
Sorry we can't give individual medical advice or opinion such as this.
CardiacMatters - 31-Mar-17 @ 11:44 AM
i am 52 yrs old. I have 38 mm hall in my heart. Left to right side asd. Doctar told us to do open heart surgery and he said that its very risky. Pls tell me what should I do or which hospital is best for open heart hall surgery I am from delhi.
poonam - 30-Mar-17 @ 3:14 PM
Miss unknown- Your Question:
I am 18years old I have had a hole in the heart since I was born, I was a month early and had to be kept in hospital for a few months and was in and out of hospital till I was 1year old, I should have a check up every ten years but I am healthy and it doesn't cause me any issues except my lips turn blue when im in the cold but coffee helps so any parents that are worried about their child with a hole in the heart defo find out how big the hole is and if they need to have check ups on it but its gonna be fine ?? hopefully this gives you peace of mind

Our Response:
Thanks for telling us about your experiences, it will be helpful for parents to read.
CardiacMatters - 22-Nov-16 @ 10:44 AM
I am 18years old i have had a hole in the heart since i was born, i was a month early and had to be kept in hospital for a few months and was in and out of hospital till i was 1year old, i should have a check up every ten years but i am healthy and it doesn't cause me any issues except my lips turn blue when im in the cold but coffee helps so any parents that are worried about their child with a hole in the heart defo find out how big the hole is and if they need to have check ups on it but its gonna be fine ?? hopefully this gives you peace of mind
Miss unknown - 21-Nov-16 @ 12:24 PM
My daughter of 19 has been unwell for a while in jan she has been diagnosed with a hole in the heart. She has been unwell ever since every day she gets palpitations she is unable to do much.But according to the hospital her bloods are fine there is something not right with her heartbeat.The case is not priority. But have had to call an ambulance 3 times for her. She gets short of breath palpitations and dizzyness. Surely this isnt right. I think she needs help
nel - 29-Apr-15 @ 7:55 AM
@Pranab. This is something for your grandchild's consultant to tell you - we cannot give out advice like this.
CardiacMatters - 26-Jan-15 @ 2:19 PM
My grand child aged 1 year has a hole in the heart of 5mm size. Kindly do suggest whether he needs open heart surgery or by another means to be cured or closed this hole.I am very anxious.The hole is in between two chamber(VSD). Kind advice is requested.
pranab - 23-Jan-15 @ 11:55 AM
My grand child aged 1 year has a hole of size 5mm in the heart.I like to know the exact treatment.Whether he needs open Heart Surgery or by any other means this could be closed.He is very energetic & joyful.Presently no problem.The hole is in between two chamber(VSD). Kindly do suggest the way OR treatment less painful.
Pranab - 23-Jan-15 @ 11:52 AM
@Dee. Usually, the NHS make good judgements about what can wait and what can't. They would not make an urgent case wait that long so it's probably that it's safe to wait. You could always phone and ask your GP or the consultant at the hospital to be extra sure.
CardiacMatters - 10-Dec-14 @ 11:50 AM
My daughter in law .has just been told that my3 year old grandson has a hole in the heart, and an appointment has been requested to see a specialist, but we have been told it will be 6-8 weeks!!Should we just go private and set our minds at rest, or wait!!
Dee - 9-Dec-14 @ 10:07 PM
I was dianosigned with one heart murmur after 19 year which I am nowturning 20 have had no problems with it but it Is depressing to know you have it but I am healthy and well
Ash - 27-Sep-14 @ 12:19 AM
@Raju. You can still keep fit and do sports with a hole in the heart but you need to ask your doctor whether there is anything you should avoid or a health symptoms to keep and eye out for.
runningbear - 22-Sep-14 @ 12:46 PM
i have hole in my heart,but im look like like fitness person..plz help me
raju - 19-Sep-14 @ 11:49 AM
@jessi. This is not something we or anyone else on the internet should be guiding you on. If your daughter has chest pains then do take her to your GP to get checked out.
CardiacMatters - 27-Aug-14 @ 11:41 AM
Question- my daughter is 15 years she was born premature at 34weeks. She born with a hole in heart after few months the doctors told me it has closed. Now that she's 15 she's complaining about chest pain can it be the heart or something else she's always tired please guide me as I starting to worry
jessi - 26-Aug-14 @ 10:34 PM
im 19 year old i have hole in heart.i often get pain doctor sugeested to surgery is there any problem.can this problem solved witout surgery
harsh - 19-Aug-14 @ 7:14 AM
I have a question, I have a hole in my heart but never shown any symptoms like palpitations or any heart related symptoms. I got this since I was a baby. I am already 26 years old. Is there a case that survived with the same situation as mine that didn't undergo any operation/ Or what could happen to me if the hole was not treated?
Issa - 18-Aug-14 @ 10:45 AM
I am a 15 year old girl, I was born with two holes in my heart, ( also my brother and sister had one hole in there heart but it closed up as they grew) so when i was about 5 I started to go for checkups to see how my heart was and when I was around 7/8 I needed an operation, but I still have to go back to see how the heart is, so I've been going back since the operation about once a year and basically I'm just wondering when will i have to stop going to the hospital to check up?
Ge - 11-Aug-14 @ 7:57 PM
@Sharma - the doctor who diagnosed your hole in the heart should have given you advice on what treatment (if any) you should have. Go back and ask for some more information as it's not something that we can advise you on here.
CardiacMatters - 21-Jul-14 @ 11:20 AM
I am 63 yeras old. to dayDoctor make a 2D Echo. he found a Hole in my Heart. what is the best treatment for me ? Please Guide me
sharma - 18-Jul-14 @ 3:10 PM
Bill it sounds like an operation to mend the hole in your heart would be putting your health at even more risk from what you've told us about your other health issues. I'd trust your GP on this one.
killer kevin - 8-Jul-14 @ 10:19 AM
Hi I am 54. I've had two mini strokes and now just recently three massive strokes, I also have a hole in my heart. I have hypertension. When we asked my doctor if I should close it. He stated maybe if I have another stroke. I also have an anerismn in my brain. I dont feel like waiting for me to have another stroke before closing the hole. Any ideas.
Bill - 7-Jul-14 @ 11:27 PM
My daughter is 7 yrs old she was born premature at 34 weeks last year around this time she started complaining of chest pain. We have been to the doctor back and forth for this at first they try to say it was just chest pain until recently when she had her Echo done it has been confirmed that she has a small hole in her heart how should we handle this?
reet - 26-Jun-14 @ 6:50 PM
@Ann. Don't be afraid to see your doctor or ever be worried about something being a 'false alarm'. Most GPs are a really good about these things and if you have a hole in the heart he/she will take any concerns you have very seriously. One piece of advice is to write down all the symptoms that you are experiencing and describe them as well as you can. That way, when you get to the doctor's you need not worry about having to explain things or forgetting anything. Either way your doctor can reassure you and give you valid reasons for the symptoms you have, or if it's something that can be treated, they GP can arrange for any relevant treatments to start. SO, go to the doctor! Take a parent or a trusted adult, you don't need to go on your own.
CardiacMatters - 24-Jun-14 @ 12:00 PM
Hi i am 14 going to be 15 years old and when i was approximately 10 i had a seziure and it was discovered that there was a hole in my heart. Doctors said as i would grow and mature the hole would close and i would be alright.Every once in awhile i feel tightness in my chest near my heart or in my shoulder. that only lasts for 5 to 10 minutes. Also, sometimes i get days where i feel completely out of it and feel as if i'm in a dream when i'm walking around. i'm not sure if that is related to the hole and seziure. i'm very active and eat fairly healthy.i also get at least 8 hours of sleep a night so i dont believe its due to lack of sleep. do you know why i would be feeling like this? i havent seen a doctor about any of this nor tell someone about it in fear of it being a "false alarm" so please let me know your imput on it.
ann - 23-Jun-14 @ 2:23 PM
I'm 42 as of 4 years ago they've diagnosed me anemic.They did a blood test 11 years after gastric bypass and said my blood is a 3 when it's suppose to be 14.They did test after test hysterectomy and couldn't find any place I was leaking blood, never did ultra sound on my heart. Well today after 3 heart attacks which they blamed on stress, they finally did an ultra sound. Well I was told that I had a hole in my heart. I'm so lost now I have three kids a grandson I don't want to die.What's going to happen to me. They said any pain numbness get to er well will I make it..., help I'm sitting in a park afraid I'll die at home and don't want my family to have to find me..any input would be greatly appreciated.
Mj - 20-May-14 @ 6:48 PM
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