ANNOUNCER: A VSD is usually suspected when a physician hears a heart murmur or when they see an abnormal echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart. Doctors can recommend a variety of treatments for VSD, depending on the size of the defect.
JULIE A. KOVACH, MD: For some people who have very small holes in the wall between the lower two chambers, no treatment at all is necessary at this time, with the exception of taking antibiotics prior to any dental procedures or other procedures that could introduce bacteria into the bloodstream. Generally, those holes are fairly benign for many, many years and no intervention may be necessary.
Children and adults with larger holes in the heart will generally need to have those holes closed in some fashion. Traditionally, closing those holes has been done with an operation in which the chest is opened, the patient is put on the heart-lung bypass machine and a patch is sewn over the holes.
Newer techniques are being developed, however, which will allow closing many of these holes with catheters in a same-day procedure in the catheterization laboratory in the very near future.