Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) | Diagnosis and Treatment

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How is ventricular septal defect diagnosed?

Your child’s doctor will perform a complete exam and look for signs of ventricular septal defect (VSD), such as a heart murmur. The location within the chest that the murmur is heard best, as well as the loudness and quality of the murmur will give your child’s doctor an idea of which, if any, heart problem your child may have.

Your child’s doctor may also run some tests, including:

What are the treatment options for ventricular septal defect?

Small VSDs may not cause symptoms and not need treatment. In some cases, they may also close on their own as your child grows. Larger VSDs may need treatment or surgery.

Treatment options may include:

  • Medications: Certain medications can help the heart and reduce symptoms. For example, digoxin can strengthen the heart muscle, so it’s able to pump more efficiently. Diuretics can help the kidneys remove excess fluid from the body and antibiotics can help prevent bacterial endocarditis (an infection inside the heart).
  • Surgery: if the child continues to have symptoms despite medical and nutritional therapy, the defect can be closed with a surgical patch.
  • Cardiac catheterization: In rare circumstance, a VSD can be closed, or partially closed, with a device delivered by a catheter.

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