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Ventricular Septal Defect

Ventricular Septal Defect - What it is

The septum is a wall that separates the heart’s left and right chambers. A defect between the lower two chambers (the ventricles) is called a ventricular septal defect (VSD). When there is a large defect between the ventricles, blood from the heart’s left lower chamber is forced through the defect into the right lower chamber because of higher pressure in the left lower chamber. Therefore, more blood is pumped back into the lungs and to the left upper and lower chambers.

If the VSD is significant in size, the heart will become enlarged from the additional blood volume and increased workload. High blood pressure may also build up in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension) from the increased blood flow. Pump failure and abnormal heart rhythms can result as well.

Complications associated with smaller defects include endocarditis, leakage of blood through the aortic valve (aortic regurgitation) and growth of muscle band resulting in double chamber right ventricle. 

Ventricular Septal Defect - Symptoms

​You will need an earlier visit to your doctor if you develop breathlessness, palpitations (abnormal sensation of the heart beating), lower limb swelling, syncope (fainting), giddiness or chest pain. 

Ventricular Septal Defect - How to prevent?

Ventricular Septal Defect - Causes and Risk Factors

Ventricular Septal Defect - Diagnosis

Diagnosis normally starts with a physical examination by a doctor, assessing your medical history and routine tests. Other tests recommended may include:
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Cardiac catherization
  • Echocardiogram
  • Chest X-ray

Ventricular Septal Defect - Treatments

Closure of small ventricular defect may not be required if it does not cause enlargement of the heart. However, closure of large ventricular defect is recommended to prevent serious problems later in life. Other indications for intervention include infective endocarditis, double chamber right ventricle and progressive aortic regurgitation.

After device or surgical closure, the patient will still require regular follow-up by his/her cardiologist.

Ventricular Septal Defect - Preparing for surgery

Ventricular Septal Defect - Post-surgery care

Most patients do not need to restrict their activity. Your doctor will determine if you are required to restrict your activity.

Prevention of endocarditis (infection of heart valves)
Antibiotic prophylaxis prior to dental is not needed for patients with unrepaired VSD especially if there are no associated heart defects or complications. However, daily dental hygiene and 6 monthly dental reviews are important for prevention of endocarditis.

After closure of VSD, antibiotic prophylaxis is needed for at least 6 - 12 months depending on whether the defect has completely closed.

Family planning and pregnancy 
Please discuss with your cardiologist regarding birth control methods, pregnancy and prior to starting a family.

Ventricular Septal Defect - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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