Pediatric Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)

Pediatric Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)



Pediatric ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a congenital (present at birth) heart condition where there is a hole in the heart’s septum (the divide between the left and right side).

Expanded overview

As a baby develops in the womb, it is typical for there to be openings in the heart. These openings usually close right before or just after birth. With a ventricular septal defect (VSD) a hole remains in the septum between the lower heart chambers after birth.

VSD causes increased blood flow within the heart and to lungs. If the hole isn’t repaired, it can cause permanent lung damage and other health complications. No one knows exactly why VSD occurs, but it is thought to be genetic or the result of environmental factors. This is the most common type of congenital heart disease (accounting for approximately 25 percent).


  • Muscular VSD – This is the most common form of VSD. The hole is in the muscular portion of the lower heart wall.
  • Perimembranous VSD – The hole is in the lower heart wall (the membranous septum) near the valves.
  • Inlet VSD – The hole is in the heart wall near where the blood enters the left side through the tricuspid and mitral valves.
  • Conal septal VSD — This is the rarest form of VSD. The hole is in the lower heart wall below the pulmonary valve.


Most children with VSD will not experience symptoms. If they do occur, they will take place during infancy (from birth to 1 year*) and can vary. Less common symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Heart murmur
  • Poor/stunted growth
  • General fatigue (tiredness)
  • Shortness of breath, rapid breathing, congested breathing
  • Become easily tired while playing
  • Disinterest in feeding, or tiring while feeding

*Age limit of infants defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).

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