Spontaneous Closure of Ventricular Septal Defects
A group of 37 children is described in whom a systolic murmur heard early in life gradually diminished and eventually disappeared. When the patients were first seen, the clinical findings suggested a small ventricular septal defect but no thrill was present and the systolic murmur had a superficial blowing quality with high-frequency vibrations and tended to stop before the second heart sound. Cardiac catheterization demonstrated a small left-to-right shunt at ventricular level in 4 of the patients while the murmur was present; in 1 this was repeated after the murmur had gone and no abnormality could be demonstrated.
Cardiac catheterization in other patients with typical disappearing systolic murmurs showed a left-to-right shunt in some but in others this was too small to be detected by routine oxygen studies. A rough correlation was established between the length and intensity of the murmur and the size of the shunt. With angiocardiography and intracardiac phonocardiography the exact site of the ventricular septal defect was localized to the muscular portion of the septum in 4 of the patients.
In 1 patient who presented with congestive heart failure, clinical and hemodynamic findings of a large ventricular septal defect diminished over several years and finally disappeared.
Children with the specific type of systolic murmur described may be recognized as having a small defect in the muscular ventricular septum. The defect is thought to be gradually reduced in size and ultimately closed by hypertrophy of septal muscle. Spontaneous closure appears to be not uncommon with small ventricular septal defects and may rarely occur with lesions large enough to present with congestive heart failure.
- © 1960 American Heart Association, Inc.