Heart Institute Encyclopedia

Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)

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Ventricular septal defect illustration.

A ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a hole between the right and left pumping chambers of the heart.

The heart has four chambers: a right and left upper chamber, called an atrium, and a right and left lower chamber, called a ventricle.

In the normal heart, the right and left chambers are completely separated from each other by a wall of muscle called a septum. The right atrium is separated from the left atrium by the atrial septum, and the right ventricle is separated from the left ventricle by the ventricular septum.

It is normal for all infants to be born with a small hole between the two atria that usually closes within the first few weeks of life.

Normally there is no hole between the two ventricles, but some infants are born with these holes, called ventricular septal defects.

Ventricular septal defects are among the most common congenital heart defects, occurring in 0.1 to 0.4 percent of all live births and making up about 20 percent to 30 percent of congenital heart lesions. Ventricular septal defects are one of the most common reasons for infants to see a cardiologist.

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Description of Ventricular Septal Defects

Signs and Symptoms

Diagnosis of Ventricular Septal Defects

Treatment for Ventricular Septal Defects

Long-Term Outlook

Adult and Adolescent Management

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Research Studies / Clinical Trials

Last Updated: 10/2013