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Pediatric Cardiology - Ventricular Septal Defect

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​A Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) is a congenital heart defect (a child is born with it). It is a hole between the two pumping chambers of the heart. 

The hole causes the heart to work harder and more blood is pumped to the lungs, which causes congestion.

If the hole is large, a child may tire quickly, catch pneumonia easily, breath rapidly and appear pale. If the hole is small, it may have no effect and may close by itself with growth of the child.

Marshfield Clinic has Pediatric C​ardiologists available to diagnose and treat any child with a congenital heart defect.


Many VSDs will close on their own in the first few years of life. A pediatric cardiologist will check the child's heart regularly to see if the VSD is making the heart work too hard.

If your child has congestive heart failure symptoms, medications may be prescribed to reduce the amount of extra fluid in the lungs and help the heart work better.

Through open heart surgery, the VSD is repaired with either stitches or a patch.​

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What Do You Know About Birth Defects?

See how much you know about birth defects. Learn what you can do to lower your risk.

1. How many babies in the U.S. are born with birth defects?
2. When is an unborn baby most at risk of developing a birth defect?
3. Which of these is a common birth defect?
4. Which of these habits of the mother-to-be can be harmful to the fetus?
5. A woman who is pregnant or considering pregnancy should get a health checkup. Which of these vaccines should be up to date before she gets pregnant because of the danger of the disease to the fetus?
6. Healthcare providers advise women to take 400 mcg of folic acid daily before they get pregnant and during pregnancy. What can this help prevent in the baby?
7. Pregnant women should not handle cat litter to lower the risk of becoming infected with which of these?
8. Which of these kinds of medicines can cause birth defects if taken when pregnant?
9. During prenatal care, a healthcare provider may recommend genetic screening tests for certain disorders. What is one thing that amniocentesis tests for?
10. Extra or missing chromosomes trigger genetic birth defects. What factor greatly increases the risk for an abnormal number of chromosomes in the fetus?