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Pediatric Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery
Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)

Heart with Ventricular Septal Defect

The wall dividing the two lower pumping chambers of the heart (right and left ventricles) is known as the ventricular septum. Abnormal development of this structure may result in a hole usually located at the upper portion of the septum.

Because the pressure on the left side of the heart is higher than the right, blood crosses the hole (VSD) and causes "flooding" of the lung vessels. The amount of over-circulation to the lungs is dependent upon the size and location of the defect. If not corrected, the increased circulation to the right side of the heart and lungs may cause an overload on the muscle and permanent damage to the lung vessels. A VSD may occur as an isolated defect, or may be one of several congenital heart malformations.

The operation for VSD involves closing the hole. In some cases where the defect is small and the tissues firm, the edges may be brought together with stitches. More frequently a patch of synthetic material is sewn into place to close the defect.

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