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Congenital heart defects affect slightly less than 1% of liveborn infants. Two defects,ventricular septal defect (VSD) and atrial septal defect (ASD), account for about 30% of congenital heart disease: VSD for 20% and ASD for 10%. These defects may occur as isolated lesions or as a component of complex defects. This article focuses on the isolated defects. Most children who have either VSD or ASD are diagnosed rapidly and will have normal life expectancy.

VSDs are defined by location and size. Each characteristic determines, in part, the pathophysiology and need for therapy.

VSDs are described by the anatomic location of the defect as seen from the right ventricle. The most common types are perimembranous, outlet, inlet, and muscular. Perimembranous VSDs (70% of all VSDs) are located in the upper fibrous region of the septum beneath the septal leaflet of the...

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