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Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)


Overview

Ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a hole in the wall between the two lower chambers of the heart, known as the ventricles. The hole can vary in location and size and sometimes closes on its own.

The hole allows blood to cross from the left side to the right side. This sends too much blood to the lungs. Over time, the excess blood to the lungs can damage the lung blood vessels.

Children with a VSD may need surgery or an interventional catheterization to close the hole if the excess blood causes symptoms of congestive heart failure. The blood moving from the left to the right sides can suck the leaflets of the aortic valve out of position. This is also a sign the child needs surgery.

Not all holes needs to be closed. Some holes may close on their own, so your Inova pediatric cardiologist may watch your child over time to see if surgery is needed.


Normal heart – in a healthy heart with proper blood flow, the blue droplets representing oxygen-poor blood travel to the lungs, and the red oxygen-rich droplets circulate through the body.

In a heart with ventricular septal defect (VSD), the hole in the wall between the two ventricles allows blood to cross from the left side to the right side. This sends too much blood to the lungs and, over time, can damage the lung blood vessels.



Treatments

Children with a VSD may need surgery or an interventional catheterization to close the hole if there is so much blood they have symptoms of congestive heart failure. The blood moving from the left to the right sides can suck the leaflets of the aortic valve out of position. This is also a sign the child needs surgery. Not all holes needs to be closed such as small holes or ones that may close on their own. Your Inova pediatric cardiologist may watch your child over time to see if surgery is needed.

Many babies with a VSD may need medication to help their congestive heart failure before it is decided surgery is needed. Babies with a VSD may also need extra calories to grow. Supplements can be added to either pumped breast milk or formula. Some babies may need a feeding tube to help them eat.

If surgery is needed to close the hole, it will include:

  • General anesthesia
  • Opening the chest in the center
  • Cardiopulmonary bypass
  • Patching or suturing the hole closed

A heart with ventricular septal defect (VSD).

A VSD repaired with a patch.

A VSD repaired with sutures.