Infants with ventricular septal defect (VSD) who are symptomatic despite intensive medical therapy require surgical intervention. Choice of treatment depends upon the cumulative mortality and morbidity rates of the two-stage approach of initial pulmonary artery banding followed by debanding and VSD closure as compared to the risk of primary intracardiac repair in infancy. Sixteen infants underwent pulmonary artery banding at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center between 1967 and 1976, with one operative death but with a significant incidence of morbidity and late death. Forty patients underwent pulmonary artery debanding and closure of VSD with three operative deaths. This second-stage procedure was frequently complicated by repair of acquired lesions. During the same 10 year period 37 infants underwent primary closure of VSD with eight operative deaths. The morbidity related to this procedure is low. With the use of profound hypothermia and circulatory arrest, results have significantly improved and the risk of early correction now compares favorably with the cumulative mortality rate of the two-stage approach. Primary intracardiac repair is the procedure of choice.