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Ventricular Septal Defect Symptoms Treatment

The doctor may choose to monitor and observe a child with VSD who doesn't have symptoms of heart failure. This means regular checkups and tests to see whether the defect closes on it own or gets smaller. More than half of VSDs eventually close, usually by the time a child is in preschool. Your child's doctor will recommend how often your child should be checked, ranging from monthly checkups to checkups every 1 or 2 years.

When treatment for VSD is required, options include extra nutrition and surgery to close the VSD.

Surgical treatment is needed if a child's VSD:

  • Is large
  • Is causing your child to have symptoms
  • Is medium-sized and is causing enlargement of the heart chambers
  • Affects the aortic valve

Extra Nutrition

Some infants with VSDs don't grow and develop or gain weight as they should. These infants usually:

  • Have large VSDs
  • Are born prematurely
  • Tire easily during feeding

Doctors usually recommend extra nutrition or special feedings for these infants. These feedings are high-calorie formulas or breast milk supplements that give the baby extra nourishment.

In some cases, tube feeding is needed. Food is given through a small tube that is placed through the nose into the stomach. Tube feeding can add to or take the place of bottle feeding. This treatment is usually temporary, because a VSD that causes symptoms will likely need surgery.

Surgery To Repair VSDs

Today, most doctors recommend surgery to close a large VSD that's causing symptoms or hasn't closed by 1 year of age. Surgery may be required earlier if:

  • The child fails to gain weight
  • Medicines are required to control the symptoms of heart failure

Rarely, a medium-sized VSD that's causing enlargement of the heart chambers is treated with surgery after infancy. However, most VSDs that need surgery are repaired in the first year of life.