Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Ventricular septal defects often cause a heart murmur that your doctor can hear using a stethoscope. If your doctor hears a heart murmur or finds other signs or symptoms of a heart defect, he or she may request one or more of these tests:

  • Chest X-ray. An X-ray image helps the doctor view the heart and lungs.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). This test records the electrical activity of the heart through electrodes attached to the skin and helps diagnose heart defects or rhythm problems.
  • Echocardiogram. Sound waves produce a video image of the heart that can help doctors see if there is a VSD and if the heart is pumping properly. Echocardiography can be used on a fetus (fetal echocardiography).
  • Cardiac catheterization. In this test, a thin, flexible tube (catheter) is inserted into a blood vessel at the groin or arm and guided through the blood vessels into the heart. Through catheterization, doctors can diagnose congenital heart defects and determine the function of the heart valves and chambers.
  • Pulse oximetry. A small clip on the fingertip measures the amount of oxygen in the blood.
Nov. 04, 2014

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