Synonyms: Hole in the heart
Medical Specialties: Cardiology, Pediatrics, Surgery
Ventricular septal defect is a congenital cardiac condition in which the septum separating the ventricles has an abnormal opening, allowing blood to flow directly between the ventricles. Oxygenated blood is shunted back into the pulmonary circulation, which can lead to pulmonary congestion. Clinical presentation and treatment depend on the size of the opening.
The ventricles, which are the two lower chambers of the heart, have a muscular wall which separates them. This wall is called the septum. Ventricular septal defect is a hole in the wall between the ventricles. In most cases there is no known cause, and the condition is present from birth; it may occur alone, or along with other heart defects. If the hole is small enough, it may have limited impact and close on its own, but in other cases it will persist and disrupts the normal path of oxygen rich blood, making the heart and lungs work harder, requiring surgical repair.