There are several factors that a cardiologist considers when deciding whether to recommend surgery or a more conservative treatment for a child with a ventricular septal defect (VSD). The most important factor to consider is whether too much blood is passing through the hole. If too much blood is going from the left side of the heart to the right side, then surgery usually is necessary to close the hole. Other indications for surgery include slow growth in weight or height, frequent lung infections, or difficulty exercising. Even children without symptoms may also need to be operated on, usually between two and four years of age.
The cardiologist will likely follow your son with repeat echocardiograms to monitor the amount and speed of blood passing through the VSD over time. Your pediatrician will also be essential in monitoring your son's growth and development. If you notice any changes in your son's ability to exercise, you should speak with one of your son's doctors right away. The decision for surgery is one that must be addressed individually for each child.