Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Thorac Surg. 2007 Mar;83(3):902-5.

Spontaneous closure of small residual ventricular septal defects after surgical repair.

Author information

Division of Congenital Cardiovascular Surgery, University Children's Hospital, Zürich, Switzerland.



Residual shunts may be detected by intraoperative or postoperative echocardiography after surgical closure of a ventricular septal defect (VSD). The hemodynamic relevance and rate of late closure are unknown.


Between 1994 and 2005, 198 consecutive patients underwent surgical correction of an isolated VSD (n = 100), tetralogy of Fallot (n = 52) or atrioventricular septal defect (n = 46). Intraoperative transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) was routine, and postoperative transthoracic echocardiography was performed in the intensive care unit, at hospital discharge, and during follow-up. Residual defects were graded as absent, between 1 and 2 mm, or greater than 2 mm.


Shunt-related discrepancy was observed between intraoperative TEE and intensive care unit transthoracic echocardiographic findings; significantly so after Fallot repair (p < 0.0001). After discharge, 83% of all residual defects less than 2 mm closed. Of nine residual defects greater than 2 mm, only three closed after a median follow-up of 3.1 years. In patients with residual shunts, they were hemodynamically insignificant, required no medication, and no endocarditis was noted. At last follow-up, there was no significant difference between the percentage of residual shunts among the three groups (p = 0.135).


Postsurgical residual VSDs less than 2 mm closed spontaneously in the majority within a year. Defects greater than 2 mm are unlikely to close spontaneously. Residual shunts after atrioventricular septal defect repair almost always close, whereas one third will remain open after Fallot or isolated VSD repair. At midterm follow-up, residual shunts remained hemodynamically and clinically irrelevant. Revision of a residual defect greater than 2 mm on cardiopulmonary bypass at initial repair, guided by TEE, may spare late redo surgery and lifelong antibiotic prophylaxis.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center