Ventricular septal defect type 4 (VSD type 4) is a heart condition present at birth (congenital) where there is a hole in the wall or septum that separates the ventricles (bottom two chambers of the heart). The septum separates oxygenated blood (oxygen rich) from the deoxygenated blood (oxygen poor). Normally, the holes in the septum close before the baby is born, but VSD is a common heart defect. In Type 4, the defect is located in the lower, muscular part of the septum. If the hole is very small it may not affect how hard the heart has to work, and your baby may not have symptoms. Sometimes a VSD is not diagnosed until childhood or even adulthood.
Often, symptoms are present as soon as a few days after birth and include poor eating, fast breathing, breathlessness, and getting tired easily. Ventricular septal defects often occur in families (hereditary) or with other genetic conditions. Type 4 makes up about 20% of VSD cases.
Doctors may hear a swishing sound in the heartbeat (a murmur) when listening with a stethoscope. Tests used to confirm a VSD may include a chest X-ray, electrocardiogram (EKG) (tests the electrical impulses), echocardiogram (used sound waves to create a picture), or cardiac MRI.
Medications may be used temporarily to increase heart function, but surgical repair is the most common treatment. Smaller defects may close on their own. If your baby or child has been diagnosed with a VSD Type 4, talk to their pediatric cardiologist (a heart doctor for children) about the most current treatment options. Support organizations and genetic counselors are also a good source of information and can help connect you with others affected by VSDs.