Ventricular Septal Defect
Mark Merlin, DO, FACEP
Kathryn L Hale, MS, PA-C
Alan D Forker, MD
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Jonathan Adler, MD
Ventricular Septal Defect Overview
Ventricular septal defect is a hole in the wall between the right and left ventricles of the heart. This abnormality usually develops before birth and is found most often in infants.
Normally, unoxygenated blood from the body returns to the right half of the heart, that is the right atrium, then the right ventricle, which pumps the blood to the lungs to absorb oxygen. After leaving the lungs, the oxygenated blood returns to the left half of the heart, that is the left atrium, then the left ventricle, where it is pumped out to provide oxygen to all the tissues of the body.
The ventricular septal defect may not be heard with a stethoscope until several days after birth. This is because a newborn's circulatory system changes during the first week with drop in the lung or pulmonary pressure, creating the greater pressure differential between the 2 ventricles, thus greater left-to-right shunt and audible murmur.
Ventricular septal defects are the most common congenital heart defects in infants (that is, defects that a person is born with).
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