The septum is a wall that separates the heart’s left and right chambers. A defect between the lower two chambers (the ventricles) is called a ventricular septal defect. When there is a large defect between the ventricles, blood from the heart’s left lower chamber is forced through the defect into the right lower chamber because of higher pressure in the left lower chamber. Thus more blood is pumped back into the lungs and to the left upper and lower chambers. The heart will become enlarged from the additional blood volume and increased workload. High blood pressure may also build up in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension) from the increased blood flow.
Surgical intervention / Medical Therapy
Closure of small ventricular defect may not be required if it does not cause enlargement of the heart. However, closure of large ventricular defect is recommended to prevent serious problems later in life. After device or surgical closure, the patient will still require regular follow-up by his/her cardiologist.
Most patients do not need to restrict their activity. Your doctor will determine if you are required to restrict your activity.
Prevention of Endocarditis
Antibiotic prophylaxis prior to dental or other surgical procedures is recommended for patients with unrepaired VSD especially if there are other associated heart defects to prevent endocarditis (infection of inner layer of the heart). After closure of VSD, antibiotic prophylaxis is needed for at least 6 – 12 months depending on whether the defect has completely closed.
Pregnancy and Family Planning
Please discuss with your cardiologist regarding birth control methods, pregnancy and before starting a family.