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What is Ventricular Septal Defect

  • A ventricular septal defect (VSD), a hole in the heart that is present at birth which normally closes during infancy. The defect occurs in the septum wall that separates the heart's lower chambers and allows blood to pass from the left to the right side of the heart. The oxygen-rich blood then gets pumped back to the lungs instead of out to the body thus causing the heart to work harder.

    Ventricular septal defect (VSD) symptoms in a baby may include: Poor eating, failure to thrive, breathlessness leading to tiring easily.

  • A physician can hear a heart murmur using a stethoscope which is caused by a Ventricular septal defect. Then the physician will perform a echocardiogram to further diagnose a ventricular septal defect. The echocardiogram will help to determine the size, location and severity of the defect.

  • If the ventricular septal defect is small in infants the physician may decide not to close the hole. Medical therapy can be used to treat symptoms while waiting to see if the defect closes on its own. Children and adults who have a medium or large ventricular septal defect or one that's causing significant symptoms may need surgery to close the defect.

    Some smaller ventricular septal defects are closed surgically to prevent complications related to their locations, such as damage to heart valves. Many people with small VSDs have productive lives with few related problems.

    Apart from surgery, Physicians can use a procedure called cardiac catheterization to insert a device that closes the ventricular septal defect. The physician will insert a long tube called a catheter into a vein in the groin and place it at the defect. A device is then inserted and pushed along the catheter and placed in the defect to close it. The procedure is done with the imaging assistance of an echocardiogram.

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