A "hole" is a defect in the wall that separates the top two chambers of the heart. This defect allows oxygen-rich blood to leak into the oxygen-poor blood chambers in the heart.
A septal defect is a hole in the wall (septum) that separates the heart into the left and right sides. Atrial septal defects are located between the heart's upper chambers (atria). Ventricular septal defects are located between the lower chambers (ventricles). In both types, some oxygenated blood, intended for the body, is short-circuited. It is returned to the lungs rather than pumped to the rest of the body.
Congenital heart defects arise from problems early in the heart's development, but there's often no clear cause. Genetics and environmental factors may play a role. VSDs can occur alone or with other congenital heart defects.
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During fetal development, a ventricular septal defect occurs when the muscular wall separating the heart into left and right sides (septum) fails to form fully between the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles).
Normally, the right side of the heart pumps blood to the lungs to get oxygen; the left side pumps the oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body. A Ventricular Septal Defect allows oxygenated blood to mix with deoxygenated blood, causing the heart to work harder to provide enough oxygen to the body's tissues.
VSDs may be various sizes, and they can be present in several locations in the wall between the ventricles. There may be one or more VSD.
Experts estimate that VSDs account for about 30 per cent of all congenital heart defects, occurring in 1 out of every 500 babies.
The symptoms and treatment for VSD depend on the size of the hole and where it is located. The size of the defect determines its effects on the heart’s function. When the opening between the ventricles is large, oxygen-containing blood flows backwards into the right ventricle instead of out into the body. From the right ventricle, this oxygen-containing blood flow causes the heart to pump harder, trying to compensate.
As a result, the heart may enlarge and high blood pressure may develop in the arteries of the lungs (pulmonary hypertension). A person with a large VSD may experience:
If the defect is small, the only symptom abnormality is usually is a loud murmur, caused by the blood flowing backward into the right ventricle.
Ventricular Septal Defects frequently are diagnosed at birth or within a few days from birth because the doctor can hear the distinctive murmur. Older children or adults with an undetected VSD may experience shortness of breath with exercise or heart rhythm problems that send them to a doctor. Diagnosis may include
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