Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
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A ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a hole in the heart tissue that separates the two lower chambers (known as the right and left ventricles) of your heart. It’s one the causes of congenital heart disease.
Depending on the size and severity of the defect, surgery to repair a VSD may or may not be needed during childhood. Regardless, lifelong monitoring of your condition by a congenital heart disease specialist is needed to ensure your heart remains healthy.
Our Approach to Treating Ventricular Septal Defect
If you are an adult who has just been diagnosed with a ventricular septal defect, our interventional cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons are experts in the catheter-based and open surgical techniques needed for VSD repair.
And whether your VSD is repaired or not, ongoing care from doctors specializing in congenital heart disease in adults can help ensure your condition is properly managed — monitoring for blood leakage, valve issues and other complications.
Our Adult Congenital Heart Program offers state-of-the-art technology and leverages a range of VSD repair experts who work together to design a disease treatment and management plan that fits your unique condition and needs.
About Ventricular Septal Defect
How Is a Ventricular Septal Defect Repaired?
While most VSDs are repaired during childhood, some adults may not need a VSD repaired until later in life. Your doctor may recommend use one of the following techniques to repair a VSD:
• Cardiac catheterization uses a thin catheter (tube) to insert a plug type device to close the hole. As heart tissue grows around the device, the hole is sealed permanently.
• Open-heart surgery allows surgeons to patch or stitch the hole closed through an incision in the chest.
• A hybrid procedure uses a combination of both surgical and catheter-based techniques.
What Are the Types of Ventricular Septal Defect?
There are several types of VSDs, and treatment and management depends on the size and specifics of your defect.
Small VSD – While most small defects close spontaneously during childhood, regular monitoring by a cardiologist is needed to ensure that the abnormal flow does not cause problems for your heart or heart valves.
Large VSD – A large VSD forces the heart to pump more than twice the normal amount of blood. Most large VSDs must be repaired in childhood to reduce complications. Defects repaired in childhood may have a mild leak despite the repair, which can often be monitored.
Post-Infarction VSD – While most VSDs are present at birth, a heart attack in older adults can, very rarely, cause a tear in the heart tissue — resulting in a VSD. This type of VSD is known specifically as a post-infarction ventricular septal rupture. People suffering from this type of VSD are often critically ill, requiring emergency care at a specialized center such as ours.
What Other Conditions Are Associated With Ventricular Septal Defects?
An unrepaired VSD can sometimes cause complications, but typically not until adulthood.
If a large VSD is left unrepaired, it can cause your heart and lungs to work harder than normal. People with a large, unrepaired VSD may develop Eisenmenger syndrome — a serious condition that causes abnormal blood flow between your heart and lungs. If you develop this condition, you will require careful, regular monitoring and management by an adult congenital heart specialist.
VSDs are also often associated with other congenital heart defects, including transposition of the great arteries and tetralogy of Fallot. People with these conditions should be seen by an adult congenital heart specialist at least once a year.