A ventral septal defect, popularly referred to as a ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a hole or defect between your heart’s lower chambers or ventricles. The defect can happen anywhere in the muscle that divides the two sides of the heart.
There are different types of VSDs. Smaller defects may close without any treatment and will not result to any long-term effects. Defects that don’t close on their own can normally be repaired by surgery.
In some children, VSDs do not show any symptoms. If the hole in their heart is small, there may be no indications of the problem.
When there are symptoms, they generally include:
Pale skin coloration
Frequent respiratory infections
A bluish skin color, particularly by the lips and fingernails
It’s also often hard for babies with a VSD to gain weight, and they may be having profuse sweating at the time of feeding. All of these symptoms can be very dangerous and if your baby or child develops any of these symptoms, contact your doctor without delay.
The most general cause of a VSD is a congenital heart defect, which is a defect from birth. Some people are born with holes already existing in their heart. They may have no symptoms and take years to diagnose.
An uncommon cause of a VSD is severe blunt trauma to the chest. For instance, a serious car accident with repeated, direct or forceful trauma to the chest may cause a VSD.
VSDs regularly occur at the same time as other birth defects. Many of the same factors that add to the risk for other birth defects also add to the risk of a VSD.
Specific risk factors for a VSD include; having a family history of congenital heart disease, and having other genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome.
Your doctor will listen to you or your baby’s heart through a stethoscope, take an entire medical history, and will carry out different types of tests, which includes the following:
A transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE):is a picture taken by numbing the throat and then sliding a thin tube containing an ultrasound device down the throat and into the esophagus, near the heart.
An echocardiogram with an agitated saline bubble test:is an ultrasound done of the heart while saline bubbles are injected into the bloodstream.
An MR:Ientails the use of radio and magnetic waves to take images of the heart.
If the VSD is small and not causing any symptoms, your doctor may suggest a wait-and-watch approach to see if the defect corrects itself. Your doctor will carefully observe you or your baby’s health to ensure your condition improves.
In more severe cases, surgery is needed to repair the damage. A lot of surgeries done to correct a VSD are open-heart surgery. You’ll be anesthetized and put on a heart-lung machine. Your surgeon will do an incision in your chest and close the VSD with either stitches or a patch.
A catheter procedure has to do with inserting a thin tube, or catheter, into a blood vessel in the groin and then guiding it all the way up to the heart for closure of the VSD.
If the VSD is large, you or your child may as well need medication to control symptoms prior to surgery. Medicines may include digoxin, a drug made from the foxglove plant, Digitalis lanata, and probably diuretics as well.
In babies with small defects and no symptoms, your doctor will observe your child to see if the VSD closes on its own. They will also ensure that signs do not develop.
Surgery has a high success rate and incredible long-term outcomes. Recovery time will base on the size of the defect and whether there are any other health or heart problems.
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