Symptoms @ diagnosis?

Hi everyone,

You all seem like a great group of people, I really look forward to hearing about your experiences and getting to know you!

Just after my 30th birthday (November), I started to experience lightheadedness, fatigue, heart palpitations, and some shortness of breath. This was off and on, and finally became fairly constant. My doctor did EKG's, urine tests, bloodwork, chest X-ray,and I was even attached to a Holter monitor for 48 hours with no abnormal results. Finally my family doctor did an ECHO, and they found a "small atrial septal defect". My doctor dismissed my symptoms as anxiety and said the ASD is not responsible for my symptoms. Has anyone had to deal with this?

What were some of your symptoms leading up to your diagnosis? Did any of the females here have their symptoms dismissed as "anxiety"...?

Thanks for all the input!! :)

Really!!! Fight for your health because no one else will! If you are told it is in your head or it is anxiety you are being

labeled and it may take years to get a correct diagnosis. I am female and doctors like to blame all our problems on female troubles. No nole in your heart should be ignored. I am a perfect example of that. I have been diagnosed with so many conditions but argued with my doctors for years that something else was wrong with me. My initial diagnosis was asthma and it developed into so many other problems. What is sad is I was glad to get any diagnosis or positive tests to try an justify my illnesses. I also had a normal holter moniter with occasional PVCs and palpitations and a normal stress test. They found a small hole in my heart but I was told it was too small to cause problems. No one looked at my childhood or pre-existing symptoms before the asthma but it took 10 weeks of coughing and 8 broken ribs to get that diagnosis. By the time I finally had my surgery to repair my ASD I was in bad shape, heading into right heart failure. Even under TEE( tranesophageal echocardiogram) my hole was small but my heart was failing and I was very ill. I was plugged ASAP! I did not fall into the box that doctors are trained in so no one cared about my cardiac condition because they already had other diagnoses. If you don’t feel better soon get a second opinion. I am an RN so I hate to say this but doctors make mistakes and I am a perfect example of this. By the way once inside my heart the ASD was over twice as large as originally found. My biggest complaints were extreme fatigue and shortness of breath with exertion. I had been in the ER and admitted repeatedly for chest pain but since my hole was small, I wasn’t having any coronary artery disease or MI and kept getting discharged. Mistake! Please keep an eye on how you feel. You and only you can judge how you actually feel! Hope this helps, linda

Thanks for the good advice, Linda! Did all your symptoms resolve once you had the procedure? (ie. shortness of breath, fatigue, exercise intolerance)

I really don't want to have an enlarged heart before a doctor takes my symptoms seriously. Sigh!


For years as an adult, I would feel quite tired when I got back from a walk to the point I felt I needed a nap! When playing netball, I just thought I was unfit. I had palpitations in 2012 & my GP sent me for a TOE (Transesophegeal Echo) where my ASD was picked up.

My closure via Open Heart Surgery was in September 2012 & I now do Crossfit which is a pretty intense cardio workout. I am 15 months post op & still find it hard with my stamina during this form of excersie. Although playing netball I found that I wasn't so tired.

If you are not happy with the answers from your doctor, get a second opinion. You know your body better than anyone! Also ask for a referral to a cardiologist.

Good luck with it all x