Ventricular Septal Defect: Signs and Symptoms

What are the signs and symptoms of ventricular septal defects (VSDs)?

A child’s symptoms depend on the size of the hole and where it is located along the septum. Many children seem to have no symptoms. They grow and gain weight normally.

Doctors may be able to tell that a child has VSD while listening to his or her heart during a physical exam. Some VSDs may be identified on a fetal ultrasound exam before a baby is born.

Children with larger, more severe VSD generally have noticeable symptoms as babies. They may have difficulty feeding, which can slow their growth. Children with ventricular septal defects can experience shortness of breath, look pale, fail to gain weight or sweat while eating. Some children have frequent respiratory infections.

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