As others have said, many children are born with holes in their hearts. A VSD is the most common heart defect that occurs. Many VSDs close on their own within the first year of life, but can close after this as well. But I know that when you find out that something like this is wrong with your child's heart.
The medical field has come very, very far in being able to correct many kinds of congenital heart defects, from the most simple and common to those that are very complex and rare. The success rate is quite high in all but the most complex heart defects. As a VSD is the most common heart defect, the procedure to correct it is very common as well and has been done for many years, so doctors have had time to finetune the techniques used to fix it.
In many cases, a VSD can be repaired through a catheterization procedure, similar to the procedure of angioplasty
. A catheter is threaded through a vein in the groin up to the heart and the surgeon places a patch over the hole. The risks are very small in comparison to other kinds of heart surgery and have to do mostly with infection, which rarely occurs. Catheterizations are routine procedures in many hospitals.
My neighbor's daughter has a large VSD and she is 5. She runs all over the place and never stops. She has more energy than just about any other kid I've seen, so it doesn't seem to affect her at all. She may have to have surgery next year, but right now her heart function does not seem to be adversely affected by the VSD. I have known of many other children with VSDs, some of whom have had them close on their own and others who have required surgery. I can't think of a single one with this type of defect that has anything but a positive outcome.
My daughter (20 months) was born with a complex congenital heart defect. She has had two open heart surgeries and one catheterization so far, and we have another cath scheduled in a month and another surgery soon after that. Basically when they are done with the surgeries they will have converted her heart to a two-chamber heart (as opposed to four, as a normal heart has). The doctors tell us that even with this type of defect we can expect her to have a fairly normal life, but that "she will never play competitive sports". That's fine, neither of us are athletes either :) She will be able to run on the playground with the other kids and participate in gym class. Right now she keeps right up with my goddaughter, who is the same age as her but heart healthy. My daughter doesn't seem to be affected by her decreased heart function. My point in telling you this is that I think your daughter will be able to have a fairly normal life, if mine can.
I hope this helps....I know that the words "heart defect" are very scary to hear. But really, the outcomes are so positive that there is a lot of reason to be hopeful and optimistic.