What is a ventricular septal defect (VSD)?
If your child has a ventricular septal defect, he or she has a small hole in the wall of muscle that separates the heart’s two pumping chambers, the left and right ventricles. This condition is sometimes called “hole in the heart.” The opening or hole may be in different parts of the heart wall, called the septum. In some cases, there may be more than one hole.
The hole is formed when the septum doesn’t completely seal while a baby is developing in the womb. VSD is a congenital condition, meaning a child is born with it.
The severity of VSD and how it’s treated depends on the size of the hole and its location within the septum. Some VSDs are very small and close naturally on their own as a child grows. Larger VSDs may require surgery to close the hole.
Why is VSD a health concern?
Normally, the septum seals off the two ventricles from each other completely. But VSD allows blood from the high-pressure left ventricle to squirt into the lower-pressure right ventricle. This can make the heart work harder than it should and, over time, may lead to enlargement and heart failure.
Ventricular septal defects are one of the most common forms of congenital heart defects. They are usually diagnosed in infancy.