Ventricular Septal Defect (cont.)
John Mersch, MD, FAAP
Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What is a ventricular septal defect (VSD)?
- How common is a VSD?
- What is the normal design of the heart?
- How do VSDs cause problems?
- How is a VSD diagnosed? What are the symptoms of a VSD?
- What if the VSD is small?
- How is a small VSD treated?
- What if the VSD is large?
- How is a large VSD treated?
- What types of surgery are available to correct a VSD?
- What is the outlook (prognosis) after a VSD is repaired?
- What are complications of VSD surgery?
- What about unusual cases of VSD?
- What are long-term precautions with VSDs?
- Ventricular Septal Defect At A Glance
- Find a local Cardiologist in your town
What about unusual cases of VSD?
There are rare cases of VSD that may be harder to treat. These are most commonly VSDs which are associated with other cardiac defects (for example, Tetralogy of Fallot, coarctation of the aorta, etc.). Cases with multiple VSDs ("Swiss cheese" defects) are also harder to treat.
What are long-term precautions with VSDs?
Repaired or not, whether small or large, a VSD creates an increased risk for infections of the heart walls and valves (endocarditis). Such an infection may be life-threatening. To help prevent endocarditis, everyone with a VSD (repaired or not) needs to take antibiotics before dental procedures, including cleaning and other dental care, and before surgical procedures on the mouth or throat. Previous recommendations for preoperative antibiotics before instrumentation of the urinary tract or lower intestinal trace were rescinded by the American Heart Association in 2007.
- VSD is a hole in the wall (septum) separating the ventricles of the heart.
- VSD is the most common type of heart malformation present at birth (congenital heart disease).
- VSD lets blood shunt from the left ventricle to the right ventricle.
- VSD can overwork the heart.
- VSD can cause excess pressure in the blood vessels to the lungs (pulmonary hypertension).
- VSD, if small, usually needs no treatment.
- VSD, if large, needs medical management and then surgery to repair the VSD.
- VSD generally has an excellent long-term outlook.
Last Editorial Review: 5/2/2008
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