SUMMARY A cardiac catheter enclosing an extensible blade was used to enlarge the interatrial opening in seven patients. Two patients with transposition of the great arteries who had balloon atrial septostomy as newborns subsequently presented with clinical evidence of a restrictive interatrial opening at I and 4 months of age. Cardiac catheterization confirmed restenosis of the interatrial opening and inadequate intracardiac mixing. After blade atrial septostomy the systemic arterial oxygen saturation increased by 20% and 30%, respectively. Five patients with mitral atresia complex, ages 2 months-91/2 years, had a restrictive interatrial communication and severe pulmonary venous hypertension (mean left atrial pressures ranged from 20-38 mm Hg). Following blade atrial septostomy, the pressure gradient between the atria was almost completely abolished and prompt clinical improvement was observed in each patient. All patients tolerated the procedure without complications.
Blade atrial septostomy was a safe, effective procedure for enlarging the interatrial communication in this limited series of patients with an interatrial septum too thick to permit adequate rupture by conventional balloon atrial septostomy.