Symptoms of a hole in the heart include a heart murmur, mild shortness of breath, greater likelihood of developing bronchitis or pneumonia, and increasing pressure in the lungs, according to the American Heart Association. Some individuals with a hole in the heart may not experience symptoms.
A hole in the heart, also known as atrial septal defect, is often only shown by a heart murmur, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The unusual sound of a heart murmur can be detected by a stethoscope. A doctor can determine if a heart murmur is harmless or caused by a heart problem.
A small hole in the heart has little effect on the heart’s health, according to the American Heart Association. A major hole in the heart should be treated with open-heart surgery or therapeutic catheterization. Most people with ASD do not require treatment.
A child with ASD may have trouble growing, according to NHLBI. If a large ASD is not repaired, heart failure may result. Heart failure symptoms include shortness of breath, fluid and blood in the lungs, fatigue, and swelling in the abdomen, neck veins, legs, ankles and feet.
An infant can have a hole in the heart, called a ventricular septal defect, usually shown by a heart murmur, according to NHLBI. Babies usually do not develop heart problems with VSD, but some major VSDs in babies cause heart failure. The main sign of heart failure in infants is poor feeding and growth.