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Ventricular Septal Defect In Children


  • Ventricular septal defect, also called VSD, is the most common congenital heart disease. With VSD, the wall between the ventricles (lower chambers of the heart) failed to form completely. This results in a hole where blood in the left ventricle flows back to the right ventricle. Over time, increased backflow of blood may cause the right ventricle to enlarge. This may lead to other problems, such as abnormal heartbeats and increased blood pressure to the lungs. These problems may make it difficult for the heart and lungs to supply oxygen to the body.

  • Problems during the development of the heart while in the womb are thought to cause a VSD. These problems may include use of certain medicines, alcohol, or illegal drugs or a family history of heart disease. A child with a VSD may not have any signs and symptoms except for a heart murmur. A heart murmur is an abnormal change in heart sounds. VSD is diagnosed by echocardiography, heart catheterization, chest x-ray, electrocardiogram (ECG), or doppler test. Caregivers may want your child to have regular checkups to see if his VSD may close on its own. Treatment may include oxygen, medicines, such as heart medicines or diuretics, surgery, or a transcatheter procedure. With proper treatment, your child has a greater chance of being able to continue with his normal activities. Ask your caregiver for more information about these tests and treatments.



  • Keep a current list of your child's medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list and the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Give vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.

  • Give your child's medicine as directed: Call your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Ask before you change or stop giving your child his medicines.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight an infection caused by bacteria. Give your child this medicine exactly as ordered by his healthcare provider. Do not stop giving your child the antibiotics unless directed by his healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or give your child leftover antibiotics that were given to him for another illness.

  • Diuretics: This medicine may be given to help your child's body and lungs get rid of extra fluid. This can help your child breathe easier. Diuretics may make your child urinate more often.

  • Heart medicine: This medicine may be given to make your child's heart beat stronger or more regularly. There are many different kinds of heart medicines. Talk with caregivers to find out what your child's medicine is and why he is taking it.

Ask for more information about where and when to take your child for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services for your child, ask for information.

Child care:

  • Diet: Give your child healthy food from all of the 5 food groups: fruits, vegetables, breads, dairy products, meats and fish. Eating healthy foods may help your child feel better and have more energy. It may also help your child get better faster. Ask your child's caregiver if your child should be on a special diet.

  • Liquids: Give your child 8 to 10 (8 ounce) glasses of liquid to drink each day. Follow the advice of your child's caregiver if you must limit the amount of liquid your child drinks. Good liquids to drink are water, juices, and milk. Limit the amount of caffeine your child drinks, such as coffee, tea, soda, and sports drinks.

  • Oral hygiene: Keep your child's teeth and gums healthy. Ask your child's caregiver if antibiotics can be given when your child is having his teeth cleaned. Antibiotics may also be given if your child has been exposed to someone with certain infections. Have your child vaccinated (shots) against infections caused by viruses or bacteria.

  • Second-hand smoke: Do not let anyone smoke around your child. Smoke can make your child cough or make it hard for him to breathe. Smoke can harm your child's heart, lungs, and blood. Your child is more likely to get lung disease and cancer if people smoke around your child.


  • Your child has a fever.

  • Your child has chills, a cough, or feels weak and achy.

  • Your child's skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.

  • You have questions or concerns about your child's VSD, medicines, or his treatments.


  • Your child has trouble breathing all of a sudden.

  • Your child has weakness or numbness in an arm, leg, or on his face.

  • Your child's lips or fingernails are blue or white in color.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Ventricular Septal Defect In Children (Aftercare Instructions)