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A ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a hole in the wall between the ventricles, the two lower chambers of the heart. The board-certified and fellowship-trained cardiothoracic surgeons at Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, typically perform a VSD repair with surgery if it does not close on its own, is too large, related symptoms are hard to control with medicines, or the child isn’t growing.
Interventional cardiologists may be able to repair less complex VSDs by using a catheter to implant an FDA-approved device to close the hole.
The interventional cardiologists at Norton Children’s Heart Institute will thread the catheter — a thin tube — through a large blood vessel until the catheter reaches the heart. The interventional cardiologist will place the closure device in the precise location to repair the VSD.
Surgeons typically repair large VSDs with open heart surgery in infancy or childhood. Even if the child currently has few symptoms, physicians may recommend surgery to prevent complications later when VSDs are large.
Surgeons often will use a patch to cover the hole. The patch may be a piece of lining from around the outside of the heart, called pericardium, or made of a special synthetic material. As the child grows, heart tissue will grow over the patch and it becomes a permanent part of the heart.
Norton Children’s Heart Institute is the leading provider of pediatric heart care in Louisville and Southern Indiana. We have the pediatric cardiologists, interventional pediatric cardiologists and pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons available to decide which treatment option will be best to address the child’s VSD.
Norton Children’s has a network of outreach diagnostic and treatment services conveniently located throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
In 99%of cases, patients have few or no complications after surgery to repair a VSD. After VSD repair, most children can live their life with no restrictions. The child will still need regular checkups with a pediatric cardiologist as he or she grows.