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Repair of VSD

Does the heart function normally following surgical repair of a VSD?

In individuals with a VSD and no other heart or lung problems, repair of the defect restores the heart’s normal function. Generally these people can engage in physical activity without restrictions. This is also true for adults with small, unrepaired VSDs. Individuals who have complications related to a VSD, such as abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) or heart valve problems, may have some activity restrictions. Cleveland Clinic adult congenital heart disease specialists recommend that anyone with a known heart defect – repaired or unrepaired – consult a cardiologist before undertaking any program of regular physical activity, sports or exercise.


What is the success rate for VSD surgery?

Surgical closure of VSDs did not become a widespread procedure until the 1960s, so long-term data on outcomes and life expectancy is only now being collected and analyzed. Available data indicate that adults with closed VSDs and without other heart or lung complications can expect to live a normal lifespan. In the 40 years that the operation has been widely used, about 6 percent of patients have required a re-operation to close small leaks that developed around the patch.


Are there any long-term problems or complications after surgery?

Within the first six months after surgical repair of a VSD, the person still has a risk of endocarditis while the heart heals. Your cardiologist can advise you on how to protect yourself from this life-threatening condition. People with repaired VSDs may develop cardiac arrhythmias later in life, caused by scar tissue that develops ion the heart from the VSD surgery. Several effective treatments are available for arrhythmias; your cardiologist can advise whether your arrhythmia requires treatment. The risk of arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death is higher in patients who have undergone VSD repair late in life.


What type of ongoing follow up is required after surgery?

People with repaired VSDs who do not have other heart problems and those with small, unrepaired, asymptomatic VSDs should have a regular examination by a cardiologist, but usually do not need to see an adult congenital heart disease specialist on a regular basis. Those who have other congenital abnormalities or experience cardiac complications after VSD repair, such as valve disease, coarctation of the aorta, or aortic regurgitation, or lung problems should continue to see a specialist in adult congenital heart disease.