All About Ventricular Septal Defect

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All About Ventricular Septal Defect

Cardiac Surgery | by Dr. Manoj Kumar Daga | Published on 22/11/2021

A ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a hole created in the septum (dividing wall made up of muscles and fibrous tissues) of the lower two chambers of the heart (i.e. right and left ventricles). It is one of the most common heart anomalies which occur during intrauterine life, thereby making infants born with it.

Due to the formation of a hole, the blood can pass through from the bottom left to the right chamber of the heart. This results in the oxygen-rich blood being pumped back to the lungs instead of the rest of the body. Thus high pressure is caused in the heart or less oxygen is found in the body.


A small ventricular septal defect may not cause any health problems but requires medical advice from the best heart doctor in Kolkata. A medium or large ventricular septal defect may result in health issues in the very first month of the newborn. This can cause a decrease in the pressure of the right side of the heart (which should be the same as the left side) resulting in the flow of blood from the left to the right ventricle (a path of least resistance) of the heart and into the lungs. It can lead to congestive heart failure and thus needs to be treated by surgical repair in early life to avoid any complications.  


Ventricular Septal Defect Signs and Symptoms:

The birth defects of the heart show their symptoms usually in the first few days, weeks, or months of child birth. If a baby has a hole in the heart’s ventricular septum, this may show symptoms like:

  • Rapid breathing or breathlessness
  • Inadequate diet and failure to thrive
  • Easy tiredness
  • A murmuring sound produced from the heart is heard in the stethoscope placed on the baby’s chest.

Depending upon the size of the hole, the symptoms may vary. Small ventricular defects usually go unnoticed in the newborn and may appear later in childhood. The child may be shown to a healthcare provider when he/she feels easily tired while playing or eating, has no weight gain, becomes breathless while crying or eating, have fast breathing or shortness of breath, has an irregular or rapid heartbeat, weakness, or fatigue.


Diagnosis For Ventricular Septal Defect:

Most of the ventricular septal defects can be diagnosed by the best cardiologist in Kolkata and during the physical examination the doctor checks for murmuring sound coming from the patient's heart. The murmur may change with time due to the closing of the small holes or large blood flow across the hole created by large ventral septal defects. An electrocardiogram can be recommended to check for strain on the heart by measuring the size of the heart chambers. A chest X-ray might also be performed to evaluate the size of the heart and the amount of blood flow to the lungs. In some children who have subtle signs of congestive heart failure, cardiac catheterization may be helpful in accurately knowing about the amount of flow of blood to the lungs and if there is any need for surgery.  



If the hole formed is small in size, it does not make the heart and lungs work harder, and based on the patient's health surgery may be recommended. Mostly, in some cases, it closes on its own. In case of large ventricular defects, only surgery can help in closing the hole. Medications can only help in reducing the symptoms for some time but do not cure them.   

In the case of infants with one or more ventricular septal defects or a VSD in an unusual area, a temporary procedure, pulmonary artery banding may be carried out to narrow the pulmonary artery and reduce the blood flow to the lungs. When the child gets older enough, the band is removed by operation and open-heart surgery is done to close the large ventricular septal defect to prevent any health complications later in life. During the surgery, a fabric patch is sewn over the large VSD to close it which is further covered by a pericardium (the permanent lining present outside of the heart). After being treated for VSD, the child does not have to follow any special precautions for carrying out physical activities, he or she can participate in routine normal activities without any risk.


For more information about congenital heart defects and their treatment, schedule an appointment with our expert heart doctors at the best car, BM Birla Heart Research Centre.