Children's Hospital Colorado

Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)

What is a ventricular septal defect?

If your child has a ventricular septal defect (VSD), 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 "a 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.

Ventricular septal defects in infants are 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.

VSD in infants is one of the most common forms of congenital heart defects and it may occur by itself or with other birth defects. The condition is usually diagnosed in infancy.

Get to know our pediatric experts.

Jeniann Yi, MD

Jeniann Yi, MD

Surgery, Vascular Surgery

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Marisa Harris, PA-C, MMSc

Marisa Harris, PA-C, MMSc

Physician Assisting

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Max Mitchell, MD

Max Mitchell, MD

Congenital Cardiac Surgery, Thoracic Surgery

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Jesse Davidson, MD, MPH/MSPH

Jesse Davidson, MD, MPH/MSPH

Pediatric Cardiology, Pediatric Critical Care, Pediatrics

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Children's Colorado in the news

CBS4

Minimally invasive procedure fixes hole in baby’s heart

June 18, 2019

About half of children with Down syndrome have congenital heart disease. At other hospitals, Charlie Smith would have needed open heart surgery to repair her heart. But at Children’s Colorado, Gareth Morgan, MD, repaired Charlie’s heart defect through a minimally invasive procedure called heart catheterization.