What are the Symptoms of Holes in the Heart

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Aug 09, 2018
Quick Bites

  • Learn about hole in the heart: atrial septal defect and ventricular septal defect
  • A heart murmur is the most common sign of both asd and vsd
  • Signs and symptoms of heart failure


Atrial Septal Defect

Many babies who are born with atrial septal defects (ASDs) have no signs or symptoms. Heart murmur is the most common among the signs and symptoms that occur during this defect. A heart murmur is an extra or unusual sound heard during a heartbeat.

Often, a heart murmur is the only sign of an ASD. However, not all murmurs are signs of congenital heart defects. Many healthy children have heart murmurs. Doctors can listen to heart murmurs and tell whether they're harmless or signs of heart problems.

Over time, if a large ASD isn't repaired, the extra blood flow to the right side of the heart can damage the heart and lungs and cause heart failure. This doesn't occur until adulthood.

Signs and symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Fatigue (tiredness).
  • Tiring easily during physical activity.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • A buildup of blood and fluid in the lungs.
  • A buildup of fluid in the feet, ankles, and legs.

Ventricular Septal Defect

A heart murmur usually is present in ventricular septal defect (VSD), and it may be the first and only sign of this defect. Heart murmurs often are present right after birth in many infants. However, the murmurs may not be heard until the babies are 6 to 8 weeks old.

Most newborns who have VSDs don't have heart-related symptoms. However, babies who have medium or large VSDs can develop heart failure. Signs and symptoms of heart failure usually occur during the baby's first 2 months of life.

The signs and symptoms of heart failure from VSD are similar to those listed above for ASD, but they occur in infancy.

A major sign of heart failure in infancy is difficulty while feeding and poor growth. VSD signs and symptoms are rare after infancy because the defect either decreases in size on its own or is repaired.

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