Signs and symptoms of serious heart defects often appear during the first few days, weeks or months of a child's life.

Ventricular septal defect symptoms in a baby may include:

  • Poor eating, failure to thrive
  • Fast breathing or breathlessness
  • Easy tiring

You and your doctor may not notice signs of a ventricular septal defect at birth. If the defect is small, symptoms may not appear until later in childhood — if at all. Signs and symptoms vary depending on the size of the hole and other associated heart defects.

Your doctor may first suspect a heart defect during a regular checkup if he or she hears a murmur while listening to your baby's heart with a stethoscope. Sometimes VSDs can be detected by ultrasound before the baby is born.

Sometimes a VSD isn't detected until a person reaches adulthood. Signs and symptoms can include a heart murmur and shortness of breath your doctor hears when listening to your heart with a stethoscope.

When to see a doctor

Call your doctor if your baby or child:

  • Tires easily when eating or playing
  • Is not gaining weight
  • Becomes breathless when eating or crying
  • Breathes rapidly or is short of breath

Call your doctor if you develop:

  • Shortness of breath when you exert yourself or when you lie down
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Fatigue or weakness
Nov. 04, 2014

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