Preparing for your appointment

If you or your child develops signs and symptoms common to ventricular septal defect, call your doctor. After an initial examination, it's likely that the doctor will refer you or your child to a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of heart conditions (cardiologist).

Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment.

What you can do

  • Write down signs and symptoms you or your child has had and for how long.
  • Write down key medical information, including other health problems and the names of any medications you or your child is taking, or procedures you or your child have had (including reports).
  • Find a family member or friend who can come with you to the appointment, if possible. Someone who accompanies you can help remember what the doctor says.
  • Write down the questions to ask your doctor.

Questions to ask the doctor at the initial appointment include:

  • What is likely causing these symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes?
  • What tests are needed?
  • Should a specialist be consulted?

Questions to ask if you are referred to a cardiologist include:

  • How large is the defect?
  • What is the risk of complications from this condition?
  • What treatment do you recommend?
  • How often should we schedule follow-up exams and tests?
  • What signs and symptoms should I watch for at home?
  • What is the long-term outlook for this condition?
  • Do you recommend dietary or activity restrictions?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor may ask a number of questions, including:

If you are the person affected:

  • What are the symptoms?
  • When did the symptoms begin?
  • Have the symptoms gotten worse over time?
  • Are you aware of heart problems in your family?
  • Are you being treated or have you recently been treated for other health conditions?
  • Are you planning to become pregnant?

If your baby or child is affected:

  • Does your child tire easily while eating or playing?
  • Is your child gaining weight?
  • Does your child breathe rapidly or run out of breath when eating or crying?
  • Has your child been diagnosed with other medical conditions?
Aug. 09, 2017
  1. What are holes in the heart? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Accessed May 15, 2017.
  2. Ventricular septal defect (VSD). American Heart Association. Accessed May 15, 2017.
  3. Fulton DR, et al. Pathophysiology and clinical features of isolated ventricular septal defects in infants and children. 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. Accessed May 15, 2017.
  5. Ammash NM, et al. Ventricular septal defect in adults. 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. 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. Accessed May 18, 2017.
  10. How should I care for myself, as a caregiver? American Heart Association. Accessed May 18, 2017.
  11. Congenital heart defects and CCHD. March of Dimes. Accessed May 18, 2017.
  12. Five facts about congenital heart disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed May 18, 2017.
  13. Atrial fibrillation medications. American Heart Association. Accessed May 18, 2017.
  14. Connolly HM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 19, 2017.

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