Diagnosis

Ventricular septal defects (VSDs) 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 order several tests including:

  • Echocardiogram. In this test, sound waves produce a video image of the heart. Doctors may use this test to diagnose a ventricular septal defect and determine its size, location and severity. It may also be used to see if there are any other heart problems. Echocardiography can be used on a fetus (fetal echocardiography).
  • 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.
  • Chest X-ray. An X-ray image helps the doctor view the heart and lungs. This can help doctors see if the heart is enlarged and if the lungs have extra fluid.
  • 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 cardiac 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.
Aug. 09, 2017
References
  1. What are holes in the heart? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/holes. Accessed May 15, 2017.
  2. Ventricular septal defect (VSD). American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/AboutCongenitalHeartDefects/Ventricular-Septal-Defect-VSD_UCM_307041_Article.jsp#.WRzomtjrvIU. Accessed May 15, 2017.
  3. Fulton DR, et al. Pathophysiology and clinical features of isolated ventricular septal defects in infants and children. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 15, 2017.
  4. Bonow RO, et al., eds. Congenital heart disease. In: Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 15, 2017.
  5. Ammash NM, et al. Ventricular septal defect in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 15, 2017.
  6. AskMayoExpert. Ventricular septal defect. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2017.
  7. Fulton DR, et al. Management of isolated ventricular septal defects in infants and children. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 10, 2017.
  8. Yin S, et al. Perventricular device closure of congenital ventricular septal defects. Journal of Cardiac Surgery. 2014;29:390.
  9. Infective endocarditis. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/TheImpactofCongenitalHeartDefects/Infective-Endocarditis_UCM_307108_Article.jsp#.WR3E59jrvIU. Accessed May 18, 2017.
  10. How should I care for myself, as a caregiver? American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Support/Resources-For-Caregivers_UCM_301850_Article.jsp#.WR3FQNy1vIU. Accessed May 18, 2017.
  11. Congenital heart defects and CCHD. March of Dimes. http://www.marchofdimes.org/baby/congenital-heart-defects.aspx. Accessed May 18, 2017.
  12. Five facts about congenital heart disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/features/heartdefects/. Accessed May 18, 2017.
  13. Atrial fibrillation medications. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Arrhythmia/AboutArrhythmia/Atrial-Fibrillation-Medications_UCM_423781_Article.jsp#.WR76E9jrvcs. Accessed May 18, 2017.
  14. Connolly HM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 19, 2017.

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