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Hole in the Heart: What Happens Next?

By: Kathryn Senior PhD - Updated: 16 Jul 2021 | 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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I was just in hospital with left side pain and numbness was diagnosed with hole in heart I’m home now and I’m having numbness and tingling and pain on left side arm and face should I go to emergency
Patti - 16-Jul-21 @ 3:52 PM
Ok I'm 61 yes old.ive been in 3 motorcycle wrecks,I have sticky platelets I've been hospitalized 3:times with blood clots in my lungs.i have had several MRI's,several x-rays, CT scans..etc over the yrs.how does a hole in my heart just show up at age 61,?
Counselor - 17-Jul-20 @ 9:06 AM
Hi Doctor, My friend is having 35 years and he is having a hole in the heart, he consulted many doctors in USA and India, doctors told that there is no cure for this. Is it dangerous or nothing to worry if there is a hole in the heart at this age. Please respond to me Thank you
Chitti - 23-May-20 @ 3:34 PM
In Sept '16 I was diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure) and in May '17 I had a stroke - the only symptoms were hemianopia (field of vision loss in both eyes) and a headache which lasted about three days.After the stroke had been identified, I underwent anumber of tests to establish the cause.These were mainly on my heart.They showed that I had the same type of hole - one that was present when I was in my mum's womb, but didn't close fully after birth.It is possible for clots to pass through this hole.At present, my consultant and team are not worried about any further effects.I was told that many people live perfectly normal, active lives with them.This is mainly because they are not always found until the patient has another issue - in my case, a stroke.I have an annual checkup with a view to further treatment if needed.
Zusi - 3-Mar-20 @ 5:36 PM
Hi Iam 53 years old and living very healthy life. I have blood pressure but it is in normal condition with proper medications. Recently I done Chest MRI and I have been detected as a hole in heart. Doctors consultation end at open heart surgery to patch up the hole . But in second opinion there is 50 to 70% life risk. Plz guide
Mahendra Gaikwad - 27-Feb-20 @ 3:24 PM
Hey.... My friend had a hole in his heart since he was born but he discovered it after he turned 17.....now he is 19 and doctors said his heart is a little weaker so it is not healing.... Please suggest what should he do.... Get a surgery or let it heal on its own..... Please help..and he suffers from shortness of beset sometimes and sudden heart ache... Please help.....
Muss - 13-Dec-19 @ 1:05 AM
i was born with a hole in my heart , when i run i get heart palpitation like symptoms, i have asthmaso it might be to do with that but my dad was asking me if when i grow would it grow with me and my heart ? its the size of a large sewing needle the last time i got checked when i was 2 im 17 now and i havent really told anyone because im used to it and it doesnt really effect my daily life
Abbsx - 15-Nov-19 @ 3:58 AM
I was told I was born with a hole in my heart and the hospital gave my mom this paper that said VSD, but we right away moved to Florida and they said to do check ups, but my mom never did it. Im 17 now and don’t feel anything. I exercise and don’t feel any different, I’m positive its closed. Should I schedule an appointment either way to ease my moms concerns?
Yuri - 9-Jul-19 @ 6:41 AM
I also have a hole in heart there is 2 hole dr.say that there no treatment bcoz hole is too big I'm always tnsn for my health I'm feeling uncomfortable in my heart I'm always sad My parents also worried about me I'm a 18 year old Plzz tell me heart hole possible in 18 year old treatment plzz tell me about my hole prblm
Ritu - 8-Jul-19 @ 5:02 PM
Hi doctor I am here to concern about my mom she is 70 years old and now we find out she had a hole in her heart doctor said that we are very worried about why we know after long time is surgery really necessary to her or she can take medicine please explain wat we do
Kiran - 18-Apr-19 @ 2:53 PM
A hole in my heart and its size is 30 mm..plzz suggest me how can i handle it, i am 36 years old
Hima - 17-Apr-19 @ 2:36 PM
Hey.... my boyfriend just told me yesterday that he has a hole in he's heart seen he's birth.... he discovered it on he's 18 birthday.... he's 19 now... I wanted to know if it's possible to fix it... is it possible to close the hole please I dont wanna lose him .... I can't ????????????
Blessing - 3-Dec-18 @ 6:32 AM
Hi is it safe to have a heart surgery ?because my heart has a hole ??and I’m scared the doctor said they will do operation is that safe?im 29 years old now but I feel normal and I’m also working but the doctor said the hole in my heart is big it must be surgery ?
Ghie - 23-Nov-18 @ 9:26 PM
I'm 59 and had a stroke, that is when they discovered I have a hole in my heart. Should I have high concerns bout it
Vicky - 2-Oct-18 @ 6:03 AM
Hello sir plz tell me heart hole possible in 18 year old treatment in medicine m treatment in mumbai plz tell me some details ihad a food in without sugr and salt doctor take me a biskit & medicine
Mariya - 19-Aug-18 @ 5:37 PM
Hello sir.... Does heart can have 2"holes....bcz i had hole in my heart when i was in school.... And I got open heart surgery.....But now i am 20 years old and scared that can i get holes in my heart again or can that older heart hole reopens...... Does it possible..
Roi - 9-Aug-18 @ 2:43 PM
Akki - Your Question:
Sir. I had hole in my heart when I m 9 years and it's repaired by doing open heart surgery.my question is that I had smoked cigarettes when I was at college about 3months. Now I quite smoking. But I m scared. Does that smoking. Cause any problems to my heart or the patch on my heart. I m scared now. Does the hole reopens. Again. In my heart. Now I m 19 years old

Our Response:
We've answered your question, please see the comment below
CardiacMatters - 6-Aug-18 @ 10:29 AM
Sir... I had hole in my heart when i m 9 years and it's repaired by doing open heart surgery...my question is that i had smoked cigarettes when i was at college about 3months.... Now i quite smoking.... But i m scared.... Does that smoking.... Cause any problems to my heart or the patch on my heart..... I m scared now..... Does the hole reopens..... Again... In my heart... Now i m 19 years old
Akki - 3-Aug-18 @ 12:54 PM
Akshay- Your Question:
I had open heart surgery. When I was 9 years old. I had hole in my heart. They said that operation was successful. Bt Now I m scared. Now I m 19 years old. That can I get back that hole back in my heart. Because sometimes I fell like feeling uncomfortable in my heart. Or my heart is murmuring. Can heart hole will be back after operation alsoo.

Our Response:
Once a hole in the heart is repaired it's unlikely to cause further issues but your GP or consultant will certainly tell you more than we can...go and see them!
CardiacMatters - 31-Jul-18 @ 2:29 PM
I had open heart surgery..... When i was 9 years old... I had hole in my heart.... They said that operation was successful.... Bt Now i m scared.... Now i m 19 years old.... That can i get back that hole back inmy heart.... Because sometimes i fell like feeling uncomfortable in my heart.... Or my heart is murmuring..... Can heart hole will be back after operation alsoo....
Akshay - 30-Jul-18 @ 4:25 PM
Hello I have a hole in heart along with the single ventricle recently my doctor said the whole is too big and now we can't fix you are too late the only thing we can do is to give me medicines for symptoms I don't know what to do because they are not Jobs or even the study is not complete because of this problem and currently feeling not very good after hearing they can't do anything and telling me not to marry anyone which is not a problem but it's more like you don't have a future and can I die on this really don't know what to do their job and now doctors are telling they can't do anything is just not to hard to accept
Dharmvir - 29-Jul-18 @ 4:31 PM
My friend Satish is being operated today for a hole in his heart. He lived his life knowing he would not live long up to 25. I hope he will do OK after the operation and can have a future and he can hope to live a full happy life.
Madhu - 5-Jul-18 @ 4:23 PM
Santosh - Your Question:
Iam 34 years old. I have 20mm hole in my heart. Doctors said they can’t do anything what is the solution. Can you tell me please.

Our Response:
We can't give individual medical advice we're sorry.
CardiacMatters - 5-Jul-18 @ 2:45 PM
Iam 34 years old. I have 20mm hole in my heart. Doctors said they can’t do anything what is the solution. Can you tell me please.
Santosh - 2-Jul-18 @ 3:54 PM
my boyfriend has a whole in his heart and he is asthmatic he is 34 years old can his hole be treated and heal without undergoing any surgery?
jiddah - 14-Jun-18 @ 12:10 AM
My friend is 19years old and he have hole in his heart it's about 1mm and he know about that since 1year what we can do for him Dr of India said the last option was heart transplant..is there is any option accept this option... If there is plz help me
Mannu - 20-May-18 @ 8:34 PM
I am 35 yrs..& 17 mm hole in heart... What is the treatment except surgery
S.P. - 23-Apr-18 @ 7:45 PM
i have a girl friend she is 18 old she have hole in heart but thank god she still healthy i realy love him and i want to marry she wants tow any banifit thi problemwith this deasees please tell me
-------- - 19-Mar-18 @ 9:15 AM
I am 10 and I was born with more than one hole in my heart. When I am too active I get pain where my heart is, and when I was a baby my heart rate was sometimes to low and sometimes to high. My mom said it was scary for her because I had to stay in the hospital for 2 weeks instead of 2 days. It sucks.
MEBTheKitty - 10-Feb-18 @ 8:00 AM
I Mother63 years old.found a Hole in my Mother Heart. what is the best treatment for my Mother? Please Guide me
U Nayak - 31-Dec-17 @ 1:42 PM
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