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What is a ventricular septal defect (VSD)?

Septal defect most commonly refers to a defect in the tissue that separates the chambers of the heart. This allows abnormal blood flow and decreases the heart's efficiency.

A ventricular septal defect (VSD)—which may be a birth defect or a result of damage to the heart—is a hole in the wall between the two lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles). With a VSD, oxygen-rich blood from the heart's left ventricle is forced through the hole into the right ventricle. The blood is then pumped back to the lungs—even though it's already been refreshed with oxygen. This is inefficient and makes your heart work harder.

A ventricular septal defect is a hole in the wall that separates the heart’s lower chambers (the left and right ventricles). These holes can exist in the muscular area of this wall or in the more fibrous area closer to the valves. The hole allows oxygen-rich blood returning from the lungs to cross from the left side to the right side of the heart. As a result, the heart has to pump more blood than normal and must work harder. Also, in a child with ventricular septal defect, the lung arteries get more blood than normal. This can cause the lungs to become too full (or congested) and impair their ability to exchange oxygen. Untreated, this can eventually lead to heart failure and abnormally high pressure in the lung arteries.

Ventricular septal defect, an opening in the wall that separates the two ventricles of the heart, causing mixing of oxygen-poor blood with oxygen-rich blood. This condition requires surgery to correct it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.