Ventricular septal defect describes one or more holes in the wall that separates the right and left ventricles of the heart. Ventricular septal defect is one of the most common congenital (present from birth) heart defects. It may occur by itself or with other congenital diseases.
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Before a baby is born, the right and left ventricles of its heart are not separate. As the fetus grows, a wall forms to separate these two ventricles. If the wall does not completely form, a hole remains. This hole is known as a ventricular septal defect, or a VSD.
Ventricular septal defect is one of the most common congenital heart defects. The baby may have no symptoms, and the hole can eventually close as the wall continues to grow after birth. If the hole is large, too much blood will be pumped to the lungs, leading to heart failure.
The cause of VSD is not yet known. This defect often occurs along with other congenital heart defects.
In adults, ventricular septal defects are a rare but serious complication of heart attacks. These holes are related to heart attacks and do not result from a birth defect.
Pictures & Images
Heart, section through the middleThe interior of the heart is composed of valves, chambers, and associated vessels.Heart, front view
The external structures of the heart include the ventricles, atria, arteries and veins. Arteries carry blood away from the heart while veins carry blood into the heart. The vessels colored blue indicate the transport of blood with relatively low content of oxygen and high content of carbon dioxide. The vessels colored red indicate the transport of blood with relatively high content of oxygen and low content of carbon dioxide.Ventricular septal defect
Ventricular septal defect is a congenital defect of the heart, that occurs as an abnormal opening in the wall that separates the right and left ventricles. Ventricular septal defect may also be associated with other heart defects. Many small defects will close on their own. For those defects that do not spontaneously close, the outcome is good with surgical repair.
Review Date : 6/7/2008
Reviewed By : David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.