Home > Mom's Life > Mom's Health and Fitness > General Health > Illnesses and Diseases > Ventricular Septal Defect in Infants
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Ventricular Septal Defect in Infants

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Henry Bernstein, M.D.

Q: My infant son was diagnosed with Ventricular Septal Defect. I would like any information you could give. How serious is it? At what stage in the pregnancy does it occur? Any explanation as to why it occurs? Is it very common? He will be seeing the Cardiologist in two weeks. It was suspected by the pediatrician in the hospital. Consequently, he called in the Pediatric Cardiologist who confirmed the diagnosis. Thanks for your help.

A: Overall, all types of congenital (present at birth) heart defects occur in about 8 of every 1,000 infants born. A baby's heart is fully formed by three months after conception and, in most cases, there is no known cause for the defect. Many children's heart defects repair themselves within 12 months. In fact, some congenital heart defects are so mild that they do not require any treatment and may not even be noticed until the child grows. It is also true, however, that there are some forms that can be life threatening in the first few weeks of life.

Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) is a type of congenital heart defect and represents the most common abnormality of the structure of the heart. A VSD is a hole in the wall between two of the heart chambers that normally isn't there. This allows blood to flow from the left ventricle to the right ventricle, which can result in more blood than usual going to the lungs. Unless it is severe, many infants with a VSD can have no symptoms at all. In the more severe forms, it can cause tiredness, poor heart function, high blood pressure in the lungs, poor feeding, and poor weight gain.

By your description, it sounds like your infant son has a very mild form of VSD, which therefore may resolve on its own. If it doesn't, surgery may be required when he is two or three years old where a patch would be placed over the hole to close it. The goals of any treatment are to insure your son grows well, to prevent the development of lung damage, and to prevent infection. A Pediatric Cardiologist will be better able to evaluate your son's VSD further and give you recommendations specific to him.

More on: Expert Advice

Henry Bernstein, M.D., is currently the associate chief of the Division of General Pediatrics and director of Primary Care at Children's Hospital, Boston. He also has an academic appointment at Harvard Medical School.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Top 10 Holiday Gifts for Teachers
Offer a genuine "thank you" to your child's teacher halfway through the school year. Give one of these extra-nice holiday gifts for teachers.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top Family Movies in Theaters for the Holidays
Taking the kids to the movies is a special family treat for the holidays! Don't miss 2014's best family films in theaters from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!