Ventricular Septal Defect Closure

Ventricular septal defect closure (VSD closure) is an invasive procedure in which an incision is made in the chest to surgically repair the heart defect.

Ventricular Septal Defect

A ventricular septal defect is a hole in the wall (septum) separating the lower chambers of the heart (right and left ventricles). It is one of the most common congenital (present at birth) heart defects. With this condition, blood leaks back from the left side of the heart to the right, instead of going to the rest of the body. If there is a lot of leaking, the heart will try to compensate by getting larger. This can cause heart failure (weakened heart) and pulmonary hypertension (high pressure in the lungs). Most ventricular septal defects are discovered during childhood when a murmur (an extra heart sound) is heard during a physical examination.
Symptoms of ventricular septal defect (VSD)
Patients with ventricular septal defect may not have any symptoms. However, if the hole is large enough

  • Symptoms may include shortness of breath, fast breathing, frequent respiratory infections
  • Slow growth, paleness, and fast heart rate.

Children and adults who have a ventricular septal defect that is large or causing significant symptoms usually need surgery to close the defect. 

In preparing for surgery your doctor will explain your heart condition, the reason for surgery, the risks associated with the procedure, and the pros and cons of the surgery. Furthermore, please note the following:

  1. It is recommended that you visit your dentist to treat any problems with teeth and gums as these can cause infection after the surgery. It is important that you tell your dentist that you have heart disease so they can prescribe antibiotics before and after the dental procedures.
  2. Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes for at least 1 week before the surgery.
  3. If you have a history of bleeding easily or clotting problems, or if you or family members have ecchymoses (discolorations on the skin due to bleeding), please inform the doctor.
  4. Avoid certain medications for 5-7 days, including anticoagulants and certain heart medication, as recommended by your doctor.
  5. Please inform your doctor about any drug allergies and/or other allergies you have.
  1. During the procedure, general anesthesia is given so that you will sleep through surgery and not feel any pain.
  2. The cardiac surgeon makes an incision in the chest to expose the heart.
  3. A heart-lung bypass machine is used to provide blood to the body when the heart is stopped during the surgery.
  4. The defect is closed by sewing a patch in place (if the defect is large) or by using stitches (if the defect is small). The lining of the heart wall grows over the patch and seals it completely. There is no need to replace the patch as the person grows.
  1. After the procedure, you will be taken to a recovery area for observation and monitoring. You can expect to be in the hospital for 5-7 days, depending on your condition prior to surgery.
  2. Your health care team will discuss with you about preventing blows to the chest as the incision heals, limiting activity, bathing, and other information needed to help you during your recovery.
  3. The incision site is likely to remain tender for a while.
  4. Avoid activities that require pulling, pushing, shoving, or lifting, which can affect the healing of the heart muscles and force the heart to work harder. Avoid strenuous activities for at least 6 weeks.
  5. Clean the incision site by bathing and using soap daily. Pat the incision dry. Do not apply any cream, lotion, or powder to the site. Please contact your doctor immediately if you notice any signs of infection.
  6. Avoid driving for at least 6 weeks to allow the wound at your chest to heal or follow your doctor’s recommendations.
  7. Approximately 4 weeks of recovery time is necessary at home.
The risks of a ventricular septal defect closure include the following:
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart)
  • Adverse reaction to the medication given
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat)
  • Blood clots that can lead to stroke, heart attack, or other problems
  • Death
Let your doctor know if you develop problems, such as:
  • Bleeding, new bruising, or swelling at the incision site
  • Signs of infection such as redness, drainage, or fever
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath

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