Current expectations for surgical repair of isolated ventricular septal defects

Ann Thorac Surg. 2010 Feb;89(2):544-9; discussion 550-1. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2009.10.057.


Background: Ventricular septal defect (VSD) is the most commonly recognized congenital heart defect. With the development of device closure for intracardiac defects, we sought to evaluate current expectations for surgical closure of isolated VSD.

Methods: Between January 1, 2000, and December 31, 2006, 215 patients underwent isolated VSD repair at a median age of 10 months (range, 20 days to 18 years) and a median weight of 7 kg (range, 2 to 66 kg). The following VSD types were found: 172 perimembranous (80%), 28 supracristal (13%), 6 inlet (3%), and 9 muscular (4%). One hundred eight patients (50%) had evidence of congestive heart failure or failure to thrive preoperatively. Thirty-one patients (14%) had aortic valve cusp prolapse, and 63 (29%) had genetic abnormalities.

Results: Incidence of significant postoperative complications was extremely low. No patient underwent reoperation for a residual VSD. None had complete heart block. One operative mortality (0.5%) and 2 late deaths (0.9%) occurred. Median postoperative hospital length of stay was 5 days (range, 2 to 187 days). In the immediate postoperative period, 6 patients (2.8%) required reoperation. No patients were discharged on antiarrhythmic agents, had complete heart block, or required permanent pacing. At mean follow-up of 2.1 +/- 2.0 years, 99.5% (211 of 212) of patients were asymptomatic from a cardiac standpoint. None exhibited greater than mild new-onset tricuspid valve regurgitation. No aortic valve injuries occurred.

Conclusions: Surgical closure of isolated VSD is a safe, effective therapy. Risk of death, complete heart block, and reoperation is minimal. As new technologies for VSD closure evolve, results such as these should be considered when evaluating patients, choosing therapeutic options, and counseling families.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cardiopulmonary Bypass
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Septal Defects, Ventricular / diagnosis
  • Heart Septal Defects, Ventricular / mortality
  • Heart Septal Defects, Ventricular / surgery*
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Septal Occluder Device*
  • Survival Rate
  • Texas