Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children - Center for Maternal\Fetal Care

Ventricular septal defect services in Denver, Colorado

Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children’s (RMHC) cardiac and Center for Maternal/Fetal Health teams in Denver understand how stressful it can be to find out your baby has a congenital abnormality that affects his or her heart. Our pediatric cardiologists and surgeons are available to provide the best treatment for your baby.

What is ventricular septal defect?

Ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a hole in the wall that separates the two lower chambers of the heart, or the left and right ventricles. Normally, the wall between these chambers closes before the baby is born, so oxygen-rich (red) blood and oxygen-poor (blue) blood do not mix. When this abnormality is present in the heart, it causes high blood pressure within the heart and less oxygen to be circulated in your child’s body.

VSD symptoms and diagnosis

Symptoms typically will not present themselves if the hole is small. Typically, your child’s pediatrician will be able to diagnose the type of heart abnormality your child has if he or she finds a heart murmur. If the hole is large, however, your child may display a faster breathing pattern, may have trouble feeding or grow at a slower or abnormal rate. These symptoms typically show a few weeks after birth.

VSD treatment

Depending on the size of the hole, surgery or medicine may not be needed because the VSD can close on its own. Additionally, there are not any techniques or medicine to make the hole close any faster.

If your child has a large VSD in his or her heart, open-heart surgery will be needed to close it and prevent any serious health issues. A patch of fabric or additional heart lining (pericardium) is sewn over the VSD to close it. This patch then becomes a permanent part of the heart because it eventually gets covered by the normal heart lining. This operation is typically done early in infancy or childhood.

After the operation, your child’s heart specialist will examine your child’s heart to check for any leaks regularly. Your child’s heart surgeon will follow-up with you for any risks, such as potential heart diseases, or any additional medicines or procedures that may need to be taken.