Restrictive atrial communication in right and left heart failure
Heart failure (HF) is usually defined by the dominantly affected heart chamber; therefore, termed right or left HF (RHF or LHF). Pulmonologists understand RHF as a complex syndrome characterized by insufficient delivery of blood from the right ventricle associated with elevated systemic venous pressure at rest or exercise. Cardiologists specify LHF by its clinical functional class and the relation to a reduced (HFrEF), preserved (HFpEF) or mid-range ejection fraction (HFmrEF). Pediatric cardiologist, dealing also with patients with a failing single ventricle, define HF as a condition of insufficient systemic oxygen delivery (DO2). Certainly, pediatricians do not think of the right and left heart, or even a single ventricle as an isolated, independently acting entity. Because of the importance of cardiac interactions, the creation of a restrictive atrial communication aims at a palliative approach with the goal to diminish the congestive consequences of a dysfunctional ventricle; further to serve as a pop-off valve in order to prevent syncope and cardiovascular collapse. This review covers the background, the particular indications, the techniques and preliminary results achieved following the creation of a restrictive atrial septum defect (rASD) in different pathophysiological settings. Based on the institutional experience, percutaneous trans-catheter perforation of the atrial septum, followed by gradual balloon dilatation can be performed at any age and location worldwide. Medical institutions in low resource countries can make use of such palliating procedures in the setting of right as well as LHF independent of their pharmacological facilities.