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Symptoms of Ventricular Septal Defect

A small ventricular septal defect (VSD) may cause no symptoms at all. A larger defect may cause symptoms soon after birth.

Children may have symptoms like these:

  • Fast breathing or working hard to breathe
  • Arrhythmia
  • Frequent respiratory infections

Babies may have trouble feeding, may failure to thrive, and may tire easily.

Large defects that aren’t treated can increase the risk for certain heart or blood problems later in life, like high blood pressure in the lungs.

Ventricular Septal Defect Diagnosis

To diagnose this condition, your doctor will examine your child, check their heartbeat and use a stethoscope to listen to their heart. In children with VSD, doctors can often hear a heart murmur — the sound of blood moving in the heart in a way that’s not normal.

The doctor will ask for details about your child’s symptoms, their health history and your family health history.

Your child will most likely need echocardiography and electrocardiogram.

They may need other tests that provide more information about how their heart looks and works. These include chest X-rays or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the heart, angiography and cardiac catheterization.

Who Treats This at Seattle Children's?

Should your child see a doctor?

Find out by selecting your child’s symptom or health condition in the list below:

Summer 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

In This Issue

  • Understanding the Power and Influence of Role Models
  • Legal Marijuana Means Greater Poisoning Risks for Children
  • Why Choose Pediatric Emergency Care?

Download Summer 2014 (PDF)