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May 16, 2021  
EDUCATION CENTER: Clinical Overview

Clinical Overview
Symptoms Diagnosis and Treatment

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  • Ventricular Septal Defect

    Clinical Overview
    Reviewed by Brian R. Robinson, MD

    VSD is a congenital heart disorder. VSD is a hole in the wall (septum) between the left and right ventricles. This hole causes blood to flow between the ventricles, usually from left to right, overstraining the lungs and right ventricle. The condition is similar to the atrial septal defect, but VSDs are less likely than ASDs to close on their own.

    Risks and complications

    Mild VSDs may heal on their own, or they may remain but cause no complications. There are, however, complications can develop from having an otherwise unbothersome hole. If the hole remains unclosed, there is a small risk of developing endocarditis. This is a heart infection to which people with previous heart conditions are especially susceptible. It is often caused by bacteria introduced during dental procedures, so people with heart problems often take antibiotics before undergoing such procedures. This should not be necessary if the VSD has been surgically closed.

    Children with unclosed VSDs are also susceptible to other infections, including the common cold. Mild illnesses can cause a baby with VSD to get sicker than he or she would otherwise.

    Finally, since one of the symptoms is low appetite, care must be taken to provide the baby with proper nutrition, because the first years of life are some of the most formative. If the baby does not have proper nutrition during those years, he or she may not develop proper brain function.

    Last updated: Feb-23-07


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