Simple, Repaired Heart Defect Still Hurts Long-Term Function
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Repairing ventricular septal defects (VSDs) in childhood did not always prevent impairments in functional capacity decades later, researchers from one center reported.

Ventricular septal defects (VSD), when treated correctly in childhood, are considered to have great prognoses, and the majority of patients are discharged from follow?up when entering their teens. Young adults were previously found to have poorer functional capacity than healthy peers, but the question remains whether functional capacity degenerates further with age.

A group of 30 patients with surgically closed VSDs with 30 matched, healthy control participants and a group of 30 patients with small unrepaired VSDs and 30 matched control participants underwent cardiopulmonary exercise testing using an incremental workload protocol and noninvasive gas measurement. Peak oxygen uptake was lower in participants with closed VSDs than matched controls and with unrepaired VSDs than matched controls.

Patients demonstrated lower oxygen uptake from exercise levels at 20% of maximal workload compared with respective control groups. Peak ventilation was lower in patients with surgically closed VSDs than control participants but similar in patients with unrepaired VSDs and control participants. Exercise capacity was 29% lower in older patients with surgically closed VSDs than healthy peers, whereas younger patients with surgically closed VSDs previously demonstrated 18% lower capacity compared with peers. Older patients with unrepaired VSDs reached 21% lower exercise capacity, whereas younger patients with unrepaired VSDs previously demonstrated 17% lower oxygen uptake than healthy peers.

Conclusively, Patients with VSDs demonstrate poorer exercise capacity than healthy peers. The difference between patients and control participants increased with advancing age-and increased most in patients with operated VSDs-compared with previous findings in younger patients. Results warrant continuous follow?up for these simple defects.

Source: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/JAHA.120.015956
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