Ventricular Septal Defects

The normal heart is composed of four chambers. The upper chambers are called “right and left atria” while the lower chambers are called “right and left ventricles.” The right atria receives deoxygenated blood from systemic veins; the left atrium receives oxygenated blood from the pulmonary veins. The right ventricle pumps the blood into the pulmonary artery and lungs. The left ventricle receives oxygenated blood from the left atrium and then pumps it through the aorta and to the rest of the body.

Separating the lower chambers is a muscular wall called the septum. If there is a hole or defect in the septum it is called a ventricular septal defect (VSD). VSD is a type of congenital heart defect (present at birth). In this condition, oxygenated blood from the left ventricle flows through this hole into the right ventricle (non-oxygenated blood). This mixture causes an increase in the amount of blood flowing toward the lungs. If not properly addressed, it can lead to heart failure, pulmonary hypertension or heart arrhythmias.

Causes of Ventricular Septal Defects

Doctors know that heart defects present at birth (congenital) arise from errors early in the heart's development, but there's often no clear cause.

Symptoms of Ventricular Septal Defects

Many people born with this condition have no signs or symptoms. However, as the condition worsens symptoms may start to appear. Some of these symptoms include:

Diagnosis of Ventricular Septal Defects

To diagnose this condition, your doctor will perform a variety of tests, including but not limited to:

Diagnostic tests and procedures

Treatment of Ventricular Septal Defects

Many ventricular septal defects close on their own during childhood. For those that don't close or those that are small, treatment may not be required. However, it is very important to keep it monitored. Moderate or large VSDs may eventually require surgery. Some treatment options include:

Medications: Though they will not be able to repair the hole, medications can reduce some of the signs and symptoms present for those with a ventricular septal defect. Drugs may also be used to reduce the risk of complications after surgery.

  • Beta blockers will help reduce your blood pressure.
  • Diuretics will help reduce the amount of excess fluid.

Medical and surgical procedures



Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
201 Lyons Avenue at Osborne Terrace
Newark, NJ 07112
(973) 926-7000
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Children's Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
201 Lyons Avenue at Osborne Terrace
Newark, NJ 07112
(973) 926-7000
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Ventricular septal defects Treatment & Care

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