Novel imaging of atrial septal defects in isolated human hearts

Stephen A. Howard, Jason L. Quill, Michael D. Eggen, Cory M. Swingen, Paul A. Iaizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Within the adult population living with congenital heart defects, approximately 20 % have an atrial septal defect, which suggests that only 0.4-0.05 % of the entire adult population has an atrial septal defect (ASD). In patients with a left to right atrial shunt, treatments may include closure of the defect with a transcatheter device and/or surgical repair. From the perspective of a physician or engineer, it is vitally important to understand the anatomical nuances of such defects, not only to offer the most optimal treatment for the patient but also to call attention to the potential anatomy of ASDs which may go undetected. To do so, we reanimated two human hearts deemed not viable for transplant from 56-year-old and 68-year-old males. Neither patient history reported any heart conditions that would suggest an atrial defect, yet an ASD was found in each heart. Here, we present sets of images, videos, and 3D reconstructions that provide a clearer view of the anatomy of ASDs in functional human hearts. With an enhanced understanding of 3D functional aspects of ASDs, physicians can make improved decisions regarding treatment options and engineers can optimize device designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-220
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of cardiovascular translational research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was conducted using human organs donated by generous families via LifeSource, to be used for the advancement of medical and scientific outcomes. This work was funded in part by NIH training grant 5T32AR007612 and by endowment funding from Medtronic, Inc.


  • Atrial septal defect
  • Congenital defects
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Oval foramen
  • Patent foramen ovale
  • Persistent patency


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