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Ventricular Septal Defect Specialist in Wichita, KS

A ventricular septal defect (VSD) is an opening between the two lower chambers of the heart, also known as the ventricles. This opening allows blood to cross between chambers and allows the mixing of oxygenated and un-oxygenated blood. Due to the pressures of the heart, blood normally flows from the left ventricle to the right ventricle and back into the lungs. This abnormal blood flow is also called left to right shunting. If not treated, this abnormal shunting can result in heart failure and *pulmonary hypertension. 

*Pulmonary hypertension is elevated blood pressure in the pulmonary blood vessels. Symptoms of a VSD depend on the size of the opening and how much blood is flowing across.

The symptoms can include:

  • Enlarged heart
  • Breathing difficulties – rapid breathing, heavy breathing, congested breathing
  • Dysrhythmias or an abnormal heart rhythm
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty feeding, tiring easily while feeding
  • Poor weight gain 
  • Heart failure

Management: 

  • Surgical Intervention
    • Ventricular septal defect closure – either with stiches or a patch depending on the size of the opening
    • During the procedure, the patient’s blood flow will be diverted to a heart-lung bypass machine
    • Less commonly, a VSD may be closed using a cardiac catherization procedure
  • Medication
    • Some medications may be prescribed to help the heart function better, they may include: 
      • Digoxin – helps strengthen the heart muscle to pump better
      • Diuretics – help removed excess fluids from the body
      • ACE inhibitors – lower the blood pressure in the body to make blood flow easier