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Diagnostics

Ventricular septal defects (VMP) often cause a noise in the heart that a doctor can hear with a stethoscope. If your doctor hears a heart murmur or discovers other signs or symptoms of heart disease, they may prescribe several tests, including:

  • Echocardiography. In this test, sound waves create a video image of the heart. Doctors can use this test to diagnose a ventricular septal defect and determine its size, location, and severity. It can also be used to find out if there are other heart problems. Echocardiography can be used for the fetus (fetal echocardiography).
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). This test records the electrical activity of the heart through electrodes attached to the skin, and helps diagnose heart defects or rhythm problems.
  • Chest x-ray. An x-ray helps the doctor see the heart and lungs. This can help doctors see if the heart is enlarged and if there is excess fluid in the lungs.
  • Cardiac catheterization. In this test, a thin flexible tube (catheter) is inserted into a blood vessel in the groin or arm and guided through the blood vessels to the heart. By catheterizing the heart, doctors can diagnose congenital heart defects and determine the function of heart valves and chambers.
  • Pulse oximetry. A small clip on the fingertip measures the amount of oxygen in the blood.