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Ventricular Septal Defect (cont.)

What about surgery for ventricular septal Defect surgery?

Larger ventricular septal defects do not close as the child grows. If it does not close, closing the heart surgically is necessary.

  • Surgical closure is typically done before the child begins preschool.
  • Surgery is indicated if medications do not work in the first few months or years of life, especially if the child is not growing adequately even with medications.
  • Surgery is more urgent if evidence of pulmonary hypertension has developed.
  • The most used operation involves placing a patch over the hole. This prevents shunting (the movement of oxygenated blood from the left to the right ventricle).

Surgery is not usually performed in newborns because small defects will close spontaneously in a significant percentage. The surgery also is more risky in the first few months of life; the risk of death from the operation is higher in the first 6 months of life than later.

Researchers are testing devices that cover the defect, performed in the cardiac catheterization laboratory, not by open heart surgery.

So I need to follow-up with my doctor after being diagnosed and treated for ventricular septal defect

  • .Regular office visits and echocardiograms are required to continually reassess the ventricular septal defect.
  • The child's weight and length/height will be checked often. Feeding and activity levels should be assessed routinely.
  • Routine antibiotic use is warranted for dental surgery and any invasive procedure.

Can ventricular septal defect be prevented?

A woman can do nothing during pregnancy to prevent her baby from developing a ventricular septal defect.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/5/2016
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