Ventricular Septal Defect
Treatment

Many ventricular septal defects (VSDs) are small and close on their own during childhood and adolescence without treatment. However, larger VSDs and those causing heart problems require repair, preferably in the first two years of life before serious heart problems develop.

Depending on the size and location of the VSD, open heart surgery or a less invasive procedure using a synthetic patch will be used for repair.

VSDs repaired with a synthetic patch use a technique called cardiac catheterization, which is performed in our Pediatric Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory.

A catheter is a thin, flexible tube inserted through a tiny incision in the groin into the blood vessels and threaded through the vessels to the heart. Catheters can carry devices to patch the heart.

Several devices are available to patch holes in children's hearts. The type and size of the device is chosen after X-ray and echocardiogram images determine the size and location of the hole. Sometimes more than one device is needed to close the hole.

During cardiac catheterization, a folded patch is guided through the catheter until it reaches the proper position. It is unfolded to fit over the hole in the heart. The procedure takes about three hours. Most patients stay overnight in the hospital and go home the next day.

Within three months, the lining of the heart wall grows over the patch and seals the hole. Patients take medication, usually daily aspirin, for six months after the patch is placed to thin the blood and prevent blood clots while the heart heals.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Heart Center

Cardiac Intensive Care Unit
1975 Fourth St., Fourth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-1955
Fax: (415) 353-9144

Cardiothoracic Surgery Program
1825 Fourth St., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 476-3501
Fax: (415) 353-4144

Interventional Cardiology Program
1975 Fourth St., Second Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-4704
Fax: (415) 353-4144
Appointment information

Pediatric Heart Center Clinic at Mission Bay
1825 Fourth St., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-2008
Fax: (415) 353-4144
Appointment information