Ventricular septal defect (VSD) is an opening in the ventricular septum, which is the muscle between the left and right ventricle.
VSD occurs in about 3 to 5 in 1,000 live births, accounting for 30% of all congenital heart defects. It is the most common birth defect involving the heart.
When a VSD is suspected, further evaluation includes a specialized evaluation of the fetal heart (“fetal echocardiogram”). As genetic abnormalities may be associated with this finding, genetic counseling and testing are recommended. Prenatal consultation with a pediatric cardiologist is recommended to discuss the prognosis and management after birth. In severe cases that are likely to require surgery, prenatal consultations with a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon and neonatologist will be arranged. In more severe cases, prenatal care will be managed by a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist, an obstetrician with special training and expertise in high-risk pregnancies.
Outcomes with VSD vary widely and are influenced by the presence of other abnormalities or genetic syndromes. Isolated VSD diagnosed prenatally has a good clinical prognosis.