Ventricular septal defect overview

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Ventricular septal defect Microchapters


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Differentiating Ventricular Septal Defect from other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-In-Chief: Priyamvada Singh, MBBS [2]; Cafer Zorkun, M.D., Ph.D. [3]; Assistant Editor(s)-In-Chief: Kristin Feeney, B.S. [4]


A ventricular septal defect (or VSD) is a defect in the ventricular septum (the wall dividing the left and right ventricles of the heart). The ventricular septum consists of a muscular (inferior) and membranous portion (superior). The membranous portion (which is close to the atrioventricular node) is most commonly affected.[1]

Congential VSDs are collectively the most common congenital heart defect. The incidence of VSD in adulthood has decreased over past decades due to successful surgical closure of large defects.[2]

Epidemiology and Demographics

The ventricular septal defect is the most common congenital cardiac malformation with an incidence of 300 to 350 per 100,000 live births,[3] corresponding to 30% of all newborns with a congenital heart defect. There is no predilection based on sex. Incidence rates are similar in different races and seasons and are unrelated to maternal age, birth order, sex, and socioeconomic status. Congential VSDs are frequently associated with other congenital conditions, such as Down syndrome. [4]


Physical Examination

The physical examination findings of a ventricular septal defect depend upon the size of the defect, the location of the defect, the magnitude and directionality of the intracardiac shunt, and the age of the patient (the duration of the VSD).


Computed tomography can be helpful as a diagnostic tool in conditions where the echocardiographic findings are inconclusive.


Magnetic resonance imaging can be helpful as a diagnostic tool in conditions where the echocardiographic findings are inconclusive.


  1. Anderson RH, Ho SY, Becker AE. Anatomy of the human atrioventricular junctions revisited. Anatomical Record 2000;260:81-91
  2. Allwork SP, Anderson RH. Developmental anatomy of the membranous part of the ventricular septum in the human heart. Br Heart J 1979; 41:275-280
  3. Hoffman JI, Kaplan S (2002). "The incidence of congenital heart disease". J Am Coll Cardiol. 39 (12): 1890–900. PMID 12084585.
  4. Giuliani et al, Cardiology: Fundamentals and Practice, Second Edition, Mosby Year Book, Boston, 1991.

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