Balloon atrial septostomy was performed in 88 infants during a four-year period as palliative treatment for several different types of congenital cardiac defects including transposition of the great arteries, total anomalous pulmonary venous return, pulmonary valve atresia with intact ventricular septum plus diminutive right ventricle, tricuspid atresia, mitral atresia, and several other lesions. At the present time 60 patients (68%) are alive three months to four years following balloon septostomy, 39 without a palliative surgical procedure.
Balloon septostomy without additional palliative surgery can provide effective long-term palliation in infants with some types of transposition of the great arteries or total anomalous pulmonary venous return. Most patients with the other cardiac defects listed require additional surgical palliation. Hemodynamic improvement provided by septostomy and palliative surgery is often sufficient to enable long-term survival in patients with uncorrectable defects.