Pediatric Heart Expert Forum
4 - 7 mm VSD - diagnosed in newborn
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4 - 7 mm VSD - diagnosed in newborn

Our son, born at 36 weeks, 6lbs 1oz., with no current, noticeable health issues, was just diagnosed with a noticeable heart murmur and was given an EKG and Ultrasound by a pediatric cardiologist and diagnosed with a VSD of about 4 - 7mm.  Obviously, this is extremely troubling to my wife and me - all very new to us and very scary connotations.

We've been told about the next 2 - 3 weeks, to watch for symptoms, etc.  I've tried to find information online to determine whether or not 4 - 7mm seems like a size which is closeable on its own - is that considered small, moderate, or large VSD?

Any further diagnosis would be helpful in calming down some very worried but rational parents.

Thank you.
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Dear Soflasteve,

Without evaluating your son, it is difficult for me to say what the likelihood of spontaneous closure will be.  A VSD of about 4-7 mm can go either way.  The big issue will be whether he has symptoms of congestive heart failure, including getting out of breath with feeds or getting sweaty with feeds.  If he does not have these, he should have a good chance of growing.  And, by growing, he can make the defect smaller.  It doesn't have to close all the way; it just has to get to be a small defect.  I would say that it definitely would not qualify as large, but even moderate defects can cause heart failure symptoms.
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Dear soflsteve,

My son was diagnosed at birth with a murmur.  It too turned out to be a VSD ranging in size from 5-6mm and an ASD believed to be about 1-2 mm.  He tired when feeding, we had to switch to bottles with a larger opening, and slept a lot.  He did not require any medication but when the echo's didn't show any closure and he struggled to gain weight we had a heart catheterization procedure done.  The cardiologists reviewed the results and recommended surgery because of his pressures and his difficulty with weight gain.  Surgery, although terrifying, went extremely well.  We were in the hospital for a total of 55 hours before being sent home.  His VSD was still 5mm after monitoring it for 6 months.  However, the real problem turned out to be his 1-2mm ASD.  It wasn't 1-2mm it was 17mm.  My surgeon said that the ASD may have been what was really causing the problems.  

I hope that your son's VSD will close.  However if it looks like surgery is the path you will have to take find a support group in your area.  Mended Little Hearts is a national organization with local chapters.  Speaking with people who knew what I was going through was of great comfort.  The best advice I can give you is to find doctors you are comfortable with.  At my son's first cardiologist appointment I walked in with a list of 20 questions.  The doctor didn't hesitate in answering ALL of my questions.  She made us feel like our son was in good hands.  We were prepared to travel anywhere in the country for our son's care and were very fortunate to be able to stay in our hometown.

Sincerely,

Oklahoma Heart Mommy
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