A ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a defect in the wall (septum) between the heart's two lower chambers (ventricles). A septal defect is often referred to as a "hole" in the heart.
Normally, the right side of the heart receives oxygen-poor blood and pumps it to the lungs where it is filled with oxygen. The blood is then sent back to the left side of the heart, which pumps oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body. But with VSD, the heart pumps inefficiently. The oxygen-rich blood is pumped back to the lungs.
VSD can lead to enlargement of the heart and high blood pressure in the blood vessels of the lungs (called pulmonary hypertension). VSDs are usually diagnosed in infancy, and many close on their own. Those that do not close can be treated with surgery.
Most VSDs are a type of congenital heart defect, meaning they are present at birth. It is unclear why VSDs develop, but genetics may play a part. Although rare, some VSDs can occur after a
These factors increase your chance of developing this condition. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:
Small VSDs may not cause any symptoms. If your child experiences any of these symptoms, do not assume they are due to a VSD. These may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If your child experiences any one of them, call the doctor.
, which may be heard at birth or when the baby is 6-8 weeks old
Signs of heart failure during infancy
Your doctor will ask about your child's symptoms and medical history. The exam will include listening to your child's heart to detect a heart murmur. If a heart problem is suspected, your child will likely be referred to a pediatric cardiologist. This is a doctor who specializes in heart problems in babies and children.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a