Ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a congenital heart defect that alters the way blood flows.  It causes blood to go between the right and left ventricles, which are the lower chambers of the heart. VSD is basically a hole in the wall (septum) that separates the two chambers from each other.  A normal heart has the septum to completely block the blood from directly going to the right ventricle from the left one.  Therefore, VSD causes blood to flow directly between the two ventricles.  It also forces extra to accumulate in the pulmonary arteries and lungs, and in the left atrium and left ventricle. [70]

The most common types of congenital defects affect the heart; about eight in 1000 newborns have congenital heart disease (CHD).  About one in 500 newborns will be born with a VSD; and since it comprises 25 to 30 percent of all CHD, it is the most common type. [71]

Holes can be Close

The ventricular septal defects that are small are capable of enclosing on their own.  Most often (1/3 to ½ of all small ones), it happens before the baby reaches his/her first birthday.  The percentage rate of VSDs that closes expand to 75 for the babies that are 1 to 2-years-old.  The holes are able to shut by itself because the tiny ones are settled between heart fibers that will eventually grow and cover up the openings. [71]


Any ventricular septal defect, regardless of its size and whether it is repaired or not, augments the chance for a patient to get infections of the heart valves and walls. Endocarditis may even be life-threatening.  Thus, every single person with a VSD needs to take antibiotics both before any dental procedures, including when maintaining one’s teeth, and before surgical procedures on the mouth or throat. [71] In 2007,

the American Heart Association rescinded the previous suggestion for preoperative antibiotics before instrumentation of the lower intestinal trace or the urinary tract. [71]

Various Types of Holes

Each area of the septum- the inlet, outlet, membranous, and muscular - are capable of having a hole in it.  The membranous variant is the most common type of ventricle septal defect.  Below the aortic valve is where this hole is located.  That valve controls the flow coming from the left ventricle into the main artery of the body. [72]

Prescription Medications

There are prescription medications available to assist patients that are experiencing symptoms of congestive heart failure.  Digoxin (Lanoxin) is taken in the strength of the heart muscle improves so it can handle larger blood volume.  Diuretics such as Lasix (furosemide) or spuonolactone helps both the patient to feel better and removing excess fluid from the body so the heart doesn’t have to work as hard. [72]

Ventricular Septal Defect Causing Other Medical Conditions

There are other conditions besides endocarditis that may arise due to effects of ventricular septal defect.  One of them is aortic regurgitation, which is blood going backwards from the aorta into the left ventricle.  Another condition to inform is pulmonary hypertension.  It occurs due to the shunting of blood from the left ventricle to the right one. The shunting will cause pressure in the right ventricle to increase.  Therefore, a symptom of pulmonary hypertension is greater strength i pressure in the right side of the heart and in the arteries of the lungs. [73]

Continuous Check Ups

A way a cardiologist can  monitor ventricular septal defects is having an electrocardiogram (echo) perform periodically on patients. [73] Echo assists

in determining the sizes of the chambers to see if there is strain on the heart due to VSD. [73]  

Echo provides cardiologists with a complete picture of the defect.   The machine also can suggest if the patient has other heart disorders that can accompany with VSD. [73]

Taking a chest x-ray can assist to see the progression of congestive heart failure.  There will be an image of the heart and the amount of blood flow to the lungs. [73] 

Only in rare cases will a cardiac catheterization is needed to be perform on children with ventricular septal defects.  It may be more accurate than other machines to view and know the amount of blood going out and into the lungs. [73]  This procedure also

can be very useful to determine the need for surgery in children who have had subtle signs of congestive heart failure but who do not have clear-cut evidence of the need for surgical repair. [73]