More recently ASDs have been closed percutaneously (through a catheter - a long tube - inserted into a vein in the groin). A variety of different devices is now available for this technique. The procedure is done under general anaesthesia with trans-oesophageal echo guidance. It avoids open heart surgery, but does involve 3 specialists - the anesthetist, the interventionist (who actually does the procedure) and an echocardiologist. Percutaneous closure has a low complication rate, short hospital stay with next day discharge, good long term results and has been shown to be cost effective. Approximately 75 - 100 such procedures are performed in New Zealand per year. Long term follow-up studies of up to six years have shown no significant complications or death.
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Website: Mercy Angiography