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- Medical Illustrations of the Heart Image Collection
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- Find a local Cardiologist in your town
- Ventricular septal defect facts
- What is a ventricular septal defect (VSD)?
- How common is a VSD?
- What is the normal design of the heart?
- How do VSDs cause problems?
- How is a VSD diagnosed? What are the symptoms of a VSD?
- What if the VSD is small?
- How is a small VSD treated?
- What if the VSD is large?
- How is a large VSD treated?
- What types of surgery are available to correct a VSD?
- What is the outlook (prognosis) after a VSD is repaired?
- What are complications of VSD surgery?
- What about unusual cases of VSD?
- What are long-term precautions with VSDs?
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recommendations for preoperative antibiotics before instrumentation of the urinary tract or lower intestinal trace were rescinded by the American Heart Association in 2007.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