Survival of patients with congenital ventricular septal defect

Eur Heart J. 2023 Jan 1;44(1):54-61. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehac618.


Aims: The long-term survival of patients with isolated congenital ventricular septal defect (VSD) is not well described. The aim of this study was to describe the survival of a national cohort of patients with VSD compared with the general population.

Methods and results: Using Danish nationwide medical registries, all patients diagnosed with congenital VSD (n = 9,136) in the period 1977-2018 were included. Patients with chromosomal abnormalities and concomitant congenital cardiac malformations other than atrial septal defect were excluded. Each patient was matched by birthyear and sex with ten controls from the general Danish population. Kaplan-Meier survival function and Cox proportional hazard regression were used to compute survival and mortality risk. Median follow-up was 22 years (interquartile range: 11-37). VSD patients displayed lower survival (P<0.001) yielding a hazard ratio (HR) for mortality of 2.7 [95% confidence interval (CI): 2.4-3.0] compared with matched controls. The adjusted HR for mortality among patients with unrepaired VSD was 2.7 (95% CI: 2.4-3.0) and 2.8 (95% CI: 2.1-3.7) for patients with surgically closed VSD. Stratified by era of VSD diagnosis, the HR for mortality was 3.2 (95% CI: 2.8-3.7) for unrepaired patients diagnosed before 1990 and 2.4 (95% CI: 2.0-2.7) for patients diagnosed later. Cardiac-related death was the commonest cause of death among unrepaired (30%) and surgically closed (65%) patients.

Conclusion: Patients with VSD had lower survival compared with the general population. The HR for mortality was increased over 2.5-fold in patients with unrepaired defect (Eisenmenger syndrome excluded) and over 1.5-fold in patients with surgically closed defect (excluding surgical mortality).

Keywords: Congenital heart disease; Long-term outcome; Survival; Ventricular septal defect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Eisenmenger Complex*
  • Heart Septal Defects, Atrial* / complications
  • Heart Septal Defects, Ventricular* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Proportional Hazards Models