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What is a ventricular septal defect (VSD)?

A VSD (ventricular septal defect) is a hole in the wall between the two lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart. The wall that separates these two chambers is called the septum.

What causes VSD?

In most cases, VSDs happen at random. It is not anyone’s fault. It is not caused by anything you or your partner did during pregnancy.

Some VSDs are found in people with certain genetic syndromes. In some cases, VSD can be passed down through families.

How can a VSD affect my child's health?

How a VSD affects your child’s health depends on its size and location in the heart. A small VSD might not cause any symptoms or problems. A large VSD can cause too much blood flow to the lungs and make it harder for your baby to feed and grow. This blood flow can also hurt the lungs and cause breathing problems.

What are common symptoms of ventricular septal defect (VSD)?

Common symptoms of VSD can include:

  • Breathing faster than normal
  • Sweating more than normal
  • Growing slower than normal (also called failure to thrive)
  • In babies, these symptoms might be worse while eating

Rev. 6/2018