Ventricular Septal Defect Moderate to Large
The normal heart has four chambers. The two top chambers receive blood from the body and lungs. These chambers are called the atria. The two bottom chambers pump blood to the body and lungs. These are called the ventricles. These chambers are separated by walls known as the atrial septum and ventricular septum.
Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
A ventricular septal defect is the most common congenital heart defect. A congenital defect means that it is present at birth. This type of defect is a hole in the wall (septum) between the right and left ventricles. This hole allows blood to flow across from the left side, where the pressure is high, to the right side, where the pressure is lower. This increased blood flow can cause the left side of the heart to enlarge. It can also cause too much blood flow to the lungs.
These defects may vary in size. They may be present in many places in the ventricular septum. Rarely, a person may have more than one of these. Small defects rarely cause problems and have a high chance of closing on their own.
Signs and Symptoms
A murmur caused by the blood flowing through the defect is often heard during a routine exam. Your child will be referred to a cardiologist for further testing. A child with a small VSD will most likely be healthy and have no symptoms. Children with a moderate or large VSD may have
- Rapid, heavy, or congested breathing.
- Problems feeding.
- Poor weight gain.
A member of the health care team will do a complete exam and a health history.
An ultrasound of the heart is called an echocardiogram. It may be done to confirm the presence of the defect. It is also done to find the site and size of the defect
A child may need medicine to help decrease the extra fluid going to the lungs and a medicine to help decrease the work of the heart.
An infant will have check-ups with their regular doctor and also with pediatric cardiology to assure that the medicines are working and he or she is gaining weight well.
Sometimes moderate to large VSDs will close on their own. Other times the child may need surgery to close the VSD. Your child’s pediatric cardiology provider will explain this to you.
Who Do I Call With Questions?
Your child’s doctor or nurse or our clinic staff can answer any questions you may have.
Pediatric Cardiology (608) 263-6420.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 05/18/2012
Copyright © 05/18/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6862
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