Ventricular septal defect (VSD), the most common heart problem that
develops before birth (congenital), is an opening in the wall that
separates the lower chambers of the heart. Most ventricular septal defects are
small and do not cause a problem.
The opening of a ventricular septal defect can be as small as a
pinhole, or the wall between the heart chambers may be completely missing. This
defect is usually found when a baby is 1 to 4 weeks old.
A large, untreated ventricular septal defect may result in the
lower left heart chamber's inability to pump enough blood to the body and too
much blood going to the lungs. Large ventricular septal defects usually cause
heart problems and symptoms by the time a baby is 3 to 6 months old.
Treatment is not needed in cases where a ventricular septal defect
is small or closes on its own. Some children and adults need surgery or a catheter
procedure to close the defect, especially if it is large.
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Larry A. Latson, MD - Pediatric Cardiology
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