A ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a congenital heart condition where there is an opening between the wall of the bottom chambers of the heart (called the ventricles). Most cases can be diagnosed and treated successfully with very few or no complications at all.
A ventricular septal defect happens when there is a hole in the wall separating the two bottom chambers of the heart. In a healthy heart, the pressure in the left ventricle is higher as it has to pump the blood to the rest of the body. The pressure in the right ventricle is lower because it only has to pump the blood to the lungs.
The movement of the blood from the left ventricle to the right ventricle produces a noise called heart murmur. A heart murmur can be heard when the doctor places a stethoscope over the chest area. VSDs can be located in different parts of the septum of the ventricle and can also be different sizes. The most common type of VSD is located in the muscular area of the inter-ventricular septum. These types of conditions generally tend to close spontaneously over the years and treatment is rarely required unless the hole is significant.
VSDs in other parts of the inter-ventricular septum are less likely to close automatically. These types of VSD may require treatment because of either their size or because of their interference with some other heart structures.
A VSD Closure procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic. It means that you will be asleep during the procedure. When you are asleep, a test called a transesophageal echocardiogram is be carried out. Transesophageal Echo is an ultrasound with a small probe. The ultrasound probe is placed down the oesophagus, the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. It is right behind the heart, and therefore, the cardiologist can then see the structures of the heart. This test measures the size of the hole and helps with the placement of the closure device.
During the catheterisation, the Cardiologist will place a small plastic tube in the blood vessel in the top of the leg or the groin. A catheter is threaded through the vessel with a soft tip wire to prevent any tears in the blood vessel. The catheter has a small deflated balloon on the tip and is threaded into the heart and through the hole (ventricular septum) into the left side of the heart. The balloon is then inflated, and the size of the hole is measured again. Prof. Walsh then threads the closure device inside the catheter and places the device into the hole.
Once the device is in place, and we are happy with the position of the device, the catheter is removed, and the puncture in your leg is closed with pressure and a small dressing.
You will need to take things easy over the next couple of days. There will be a small dressing over the site, and it is important to keep it clean and dry. The nurse on the ward will put a new dressing over the area on the day of discharge. There may be a small bruise, and the site may even be tender over the next couple of days. An ice pack may be useful, and your doctor may prescribe a mild pain killer.
You will need to take aspirin for six months after the procedure. Aspirin will help to prevent small blood clots from forming around the device. You will be given a prescription for aspirin before you are discharged home from the hospital.
You may need to take antibiotics before and after dental treatments for six months after the procedure. These drugs help prevent a heart infection called infectious endocarditis.
Your will receive an appointment for follow-up about 6 months after the procedure.