Heart and Blood Conditions

Ventricular Septal Defect Symptoms and Diagnosis

  • Schedule an appointment +

    • For appointments in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Federal Way, Olympia, Tri-Cities and Wenatchee, call 206-987-2515.
    • For appointments in Tacoma and Silverdale, call 253-272-1812.
    • For appointments in Alaska, call 907-339-1945.

    If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

  • Find a doctor +

  • Locations +

    • Seattle Children's Main Campus: 206-987-2515
    • Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center: 425-454-4644
    • Everett: 425-304-6080
    • South Clinic in Federal Way: 253-838-5878
    • Olympia: 360-459-5009
    • South Sound Cardiology Clinics: 253-272-1812
    • Tri-Cities (Richland): 509-946-0976
    • Wenatchee: 509-662-9266
    • Pediatric Cardiology of Alaska: 907-339-1945
    • Seattle Children's doctors provide many cardiac services at regional sites throughout the Pacific Northwest. See our complete list of Heart Center locations.

  • Refer a patient +

    • If you are a provider, fax a New Appointment Request Form (NARF) (PDF) (DOC) to 206-985-3121 or 866-985-3121 (toll-free).
    • No pre-referral work-up is required for most conditions. If you have already done testing such as an EKG, Holter monitor or echocardiogram, please fax this information as well as relevant clinic notes and the NARF to 206-985-3121 or 866-985-3121 (toll-free).
    • Your patient will be seen as quickly as possible by the provider who is the best match for managing the current problem.
    • View our complete Heart Center Referral Information (PDF).

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
  • Trouble eating or gaining weight (failure to thrive)
  • Pale skin

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 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.

Contact Us

Contact the Heart Center at 206-987-2015 for a cardiac referral, a second opinion or more information.