Ventricular Septal Defect

Also known as: VSD.

What is Ventricular Septal Defect?

The ventricles are the lower chambers of the heart. Ordinarily, the left ventricle pumps blood out to the body, while the right ventricle pumps blood to the lungs. A wall divides the ventricles from one another. But a ventricular septal defect is a hole in this wall. This causes the blood between the two ventricles to mix, which can cause circulation problems in the body.

What causes ventricular septal defect? 

Ventricular septal defect is a defect that babies are born with (congenital birth defect). It is often present with other heart problems. The exact cause is not known.

What are the symptoms of ventricular septal defect? 

If a baby has a small ventricular septal defect, there may be no symptoms, and the hole may close on its own over time. Larger defects can cause trouble breathing, difficulty feeding or growing, a rapid heartbeat, pale skin or recurring lung infections. Long-term damage to the heart and lungs is possible without treatment.

What are ventricular septal defect care options? 

Some small ventricular septal defects require no treatment and only careful monitoring. Larger ventricular septal defects typically need medication to control symptoms and ultimately surgery to repair the damage to the heart.


Reviewed by: Anthony F. Rossi, MD

This page was last updated on: December 18, 2020 04:34 PM

The Arterial Switch Operation: A Single Surgeon, Single Center Experience: 2001-2019

April 10, 2019 – The Heart Institute at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital remains dedicated to providing the very best and safest experience for patients undergoing congenital heart surgery. Today we report 18 years of outcomes for patients undergoing the arterial switch operation for complete transposition of the great arteries who were operated by Dr. Redmond Burke.

Patient Success Stories

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At three weeks old, baby Lavondre was diagnosed with Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), which means he had a hole in the wall that separates the right and left lower chambers of the heart, and he needed surgery to survive.

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