Ventricular Septal Defects (VSD)
If your baby has a ventricular septal defect (VSD) - an abnormal opening between the heart's lower pumping chambers - you are bound to be very concerned. A ventricular septal defect, also called a "hole in the heart," is a common heart defect that's present at birth (congenital). Fortunately this defect is readily treatable. Smaller ventricular septal defects often close on their own or do not cause problems. Others need surgical repair. Many children with ventricular septal defects have normal, productive lives with few related problems.
The consequences of a ventricular septal defect depend on the size of the hole. Babies with small defects may have no problems at all and may appear physically normal. In babies with larger defects or associated congenital heart defects, oxygen-poor blood may be pumped out to the body through the ventricular septal defect. Because of this, some babies with larger ventricular septal defects may have a telltale bluish tint to their skin - called cyanosis - often most visible in the lips and fingernails.
When a ventricular septal defect is one of several heart defects, the sequence of treatment and the outcome varies. Typically, doctors tackle one defect at a time - over time - while managing symptoms of others.
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