Surgical Treatment

About 60% of small ventricular septal defects close spontaneously. The remaining 40% require open heart surgery. In most infants, the defect can be permanently corrected surgically during the first year of life.

The repair takes place under direct visualization of the defect, and the septum is closed with either a simple suture technique or, in most instances, the insertion of a synthetic prosthetic or pericardial patch.

The procedure begins with the patient positioned supine (on his/her back).

The sutures are placed around the defect and passed through the patch (white circular object with cross on picture above). The patch is moved into place and the sutures are tied. This picture shows the repair of an atrial septal defect. Suture placement through the patch is similar in VSD repair. The tubes shown in the picture are part of the extracorporeal perfusion equipment ("heart-lung" machine).

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