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Study identifies underlying dysfunction of seemingly non-critical heart condition
Date:9/13/2010

Repairing small, seemingly benign holes in a child's heart may be more clinically important than previously thought, as dysfunction could be lurking out of sight. These are the findings from a study conducted by doctors and researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital and the Ohio State University Medical Center examining a subset of the most common form of congenital heart disease, ventricular septal defect. The recently published study appears in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, the official journal of the International Society for Heart Research.

Ventricular septal defect is a congenital heart defect defined by one or more holes in the wall that separates the right and left ventricles of the heart. These defects can be large (nonrestrictive) or small (restrictive) and vary in severity depending on size. Medical management of large ventricular septal defects is straightforward in that the hole must be closed or the patient will develop severe, life-threatening complications including pulmonary hypertension and right ventricle failure.

Management of a restrictive ventricular septal defect (rVSD) is less clear.

"rVSD patients typically have normal blood circulation despite an obvious defect and hole in the ventricular wall," said Loren Wold, PhD, FAHA, principal investigator in the Center for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital and one of the study authors. "Clinically, these patients are usually observed with the hope that the defect will close over time without the need for surgical repair and without the development of heart failure or sudden death."

Because rVSD is often considered to be hemodynamically benign, meaning that blood flow appears normal, it is assumed that whole heart function is a reflection of conditions at the cellular and molecular levels. Therefore, few studies have investigated whether changes in the heart at the mo
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Contact: Mary Ellen Peacock
MaryEllen.Peacock@NationwideChildrens.org
614-355-0495
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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