Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)

Ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a hole in the septum (wall) that separates the two lower (ventricular) chambers of your heart. VSD is present at birth and allows oxygen-rich blood to leak into the oxygen-poor chambers of the heart. It is the most common congenital heart defect. 

VSD can become a medical concern when the holes: 

  • Don’t close on their own 
  • Are large enough to cause symptoms such as rapid breathing 

Over time, a VSD can cause pressure in your lungs to build, leading to less oxygen in blood going out to the body. Sometimes this happens in childhood, but in some people VSDs don’t cause problems until adulthood. When this happens, surgery is needed to close the hole. Here’s how it works: 

  • Before the procedure, you or your child will receive a cardiovascular imaging test, such as an echocardiogram, to pinpoint the shape and size of the hole and make sure no other defects are present. 
  • We’ll give you or your child medication to help them fall asleep. 
  • Our specialist makes an incision in you or your child’s artery and inserts a thin, spaghetti-like tube (catheter) with a closure device attached to the tip. 
  • The closure device consists of a short tube with discs on either end. The discs are covered in special mesh material. 
  • The device is compressed to fit on the delivery end of the catheter and advanced through a blood vessel to the hole. 
  • We’ll check the positioning of the devices using advanced imaging technology. 
  • Once we are sure of the positioning, the short tube plugs the hole. The discs expand and straddle each side of the hole. One is in the left atria, and the other is in the right atria. 
  • We remove the catheter, and the procedure is complete. 
  • You or your child will need to stay in the hospital and rest for at least six hours after the procedure. 
  • Within 24 hours of the procedure, we perform imaging tests to make sure the device is positioned correctly. 
  • The device will remain in place permanently. Within a few days, tissue will begin to grow over it. 

Quick Reference

Heart & Vascular Center
New Patients

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Toll-free 888-716-WAKE

Returning Patients

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Heart 336-716-6674

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Last Updated: 11-17-2015
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.

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