Ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a hole in the septum (wall) that separates the 2 lower (ventricular) chambers of your heart. VSD is present at birth (congenital) 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 and 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.

Before the procedure, you 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.

You will be given medication to help you fall asleep.

Your doctor makes an incision in your 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. The positioning of the devices is checked using advanced imaging technology.

Once the positioning is good, 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.

Your doctor removes the catheter, and the procedure is complete. You will need to stay in the hospital and rest for at least 6 hours after the procedure. Within 24 hours of the procedure, imaging tests are performed 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.