Although exercise capacity is impaired, atrial septal defect (ASD) patients report satisfactory exercise tolerance. This study aimed at (1) evaluating cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPX) and (2) evaluating the impact of exercise capacity on perceived health status using a self-reported health questionnaire (SF-36) in patients with open and closed ASD.
Seventeen patients (mean age 37 ± 17, 9 males) with open ASD and 24 (mean age 37 ± 14, 6 male) with closed ASD were included. All underwent CPX and completed a SF-36 questionnaire. Age- and gender-matched controls were selected for comparison of CPX variables and SF-36 was compared with results from a general population.
Patients with open ASD had lower peak oxygen uptake (O2) (27.9 ± 9.7 vs 38.5 ± 9.5 mL · kg−1 · min−1. P = .009) and higher E/CO2 slope (31.0 ± 7.7 vs 24.1 ± 4.8; P = .004) than controls. Patients with closed ASD had lower peak O2 (26.2 ± 8.4 vs 34.8 ± 9.7 mL · kg−1 · min−1. P = .014) and peak heart rate (163 ± 25 vs 178 ± 16 bpm; P = .035) than controls. Perceived health-status was lower in patients with open ASD than the general population. Peak O2 correlated significantly with physical functioning, emotional functioning, and bodily pain in open ASD and with physical functioning, bodily pain, role limitation, vitality, and mental health in closed ASD patients.
Patients with open and closed ASD had decreased peak O2. Patients with open ASD had lower ventilatory efficiency. Closed ASD patients had chronotropic incompetence because of β-blockers. SF-36 was reduced in patients with open ASD but not closed ASD. Reduced exercise capacity affected several domains of perceived health-status in ASD patients.