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The natural history of ventricular septal defects


AIMS To correlate the size and position of isolated ventricular septal defects with closure rate in a cohort of children with mean follow up of more than six years.

DESIGN A birth cohort was identified using the northern region cardiac database. The following were noted from case notes: defect size, position, means of closure, and age at closure.

RESULTS 68 children were identified. 49 defects were small, 14 were moderate, and 5 were large. 13 cases required surgical closure, including 12 perimembranous defects. 35 defects closed spontaneously. Nine of the small muscular defects remained open and five of the small perimembranous defects remained open. The spontaneous closure rate for muscular defects was significantly greater than for perimembranous defects. Mean age of follow up for patients who still have defects is 76 months.

CONCLUSIONS The position of a ventricular septal defect is extremely relevant to its natural history. Perimembranous defects accounted for most of the moderate and large defects that required surgical intervention. After more than six years almost a third of all perimembranous and just over two thirds of all muscular defects closed spontaneously.

  • ventricular septal defects
  • cohort study
  • colour flow imaging

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