After your ventricular septal defect (VSD) is repaired, you or your child will need follow-up care throughout life for doctors to monitor your condition and check for any signs of complications.
Your doctor may suggest that you or your child have regular follow-up appointments with a doctor who specializes in congenital heart disease. In follow-up appointments, your doctor may evaluate you or your child and order imaging tests to monitor your or your child's condition.
Here are a few tips for managing your or your child's condition:
- Consider pregnancy carefully. Before becoming pregnant, talk to a doctor trained in heart conditions (cardiologist) to determine if you can undergo pregnancy safely. This is especially important if you're taking medications. It's also important to see both an obstetrician and a cardiologist during pregnancy.
Having a repaired VSD without complications or having a small defect doesn't pose an additional pregnancy risk. However, having an unrepaired, larger defect; heart failure; pulmonary hypertension; abnormal heart rhythms; or other heart defects poses a high risk to both mother and foetus. Doctors strongly advise women with Eisenmenger syndrome not to become pregnant because of the high risk of complications.
- Prevent endocarditis. You or your child usually won't need to take antibiotics before certain dental procedures to prevent an infection of the heart's inner lining (endocarditis).
However, your doctor may recommend antibiotics if you've had prior endocarditis, a heart valve replacement, if you have had a recent VSD repair with artificial material, if you still have leaks through the VSD, if the repaired VSD is next to a defect that's been repaired with artificial material, or if you have a large ventricular septal defect that's causing low oxygen levels.
For most people with a ventricular septal defect, good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups can prevent endocarditis.
- Follow exercise recommendations. Your doctor can advise you about which activities are safe for you or your child. If some activities pose special dangers, encourage your child to engage in other, safer activities. Keep in mind that many children with VSDs can lead healthy, fully active, productive lives.
Children with small defects or a repaired hole in the heart will usually have few or no restrictions on activity or exercise. Children whose hearts don't pump as normally will need to follow some limits. A child with irreversible pulmonary hypertension (Eisenmenger syndrome) has the greatest number of restrictions.