Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)

  • Medical Author:
    John Mersch, MD, FAAP

    Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

What about unusual cases of VSD?

There are rare cases of VSD that may be harder to treat. These are most commonly VSDs which are associated with other cardiac defects (for example, Tetralogy of Fallot, coarctation of the aorta, etc.). Cases with multiple VSDs ("Swiss cheese" defects) are also harder to treat.

What are long-term precautions with VSDs?

Repaired or not, whether small or large, a VSD creates an increased risk for infections of the heart walls and valves (endocarditis). Such an infection may be life-threatening. To help prevent endocarditis, everyone with a VSD (repaired or not) needs to take antibiotics before dental procedures, including cleaning and other dental care, and before surgical procedures on the mouth or throat. Previous recommendations for preoperative antibiotics before instrumentation of the urinary tract or lower intestinal trace were rescinded by the American Heart Association in 2007.

Medically reviewed by Robert J. Bryg, MD; Board Certified Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Cardiovascular Disease


"Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)." Adult Congenital Heart Association.

"What Are Congenital Heart Defects?" National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Updated July 1, 2011.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/9/2016

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