A ventricular septal aneurysm is a type of cardiac aneurysm. This type of aneurysm occurs when there is a bulge or balloon pouch formed in the ventricular septum. One of these aneurysms could be a result of a congenital condition, such as ventricular septal defect, or as a result of heart trauma, such as a heart attack.
The ventricular septum is the wall of tissue that divides the left and right sections of the heart, called the ventricles. This wall is comprised of the inferior muscular section and the superior membranous portion. In cases of ventricular septal defect, it is more common for older children and adults to have problems in the membranous section.
Ventricular septal defect generally occurs most often in the muscular section of the septal wall. A septal aneurysm, however, can occur in the apical, anterior, posterior, or midventrical areas of the ventricular septal wall. In some cases, an aneurysm can be in multiple parts of the wall.
Congenital ventricular septal aneurysm is present at birth. Symptoms will usually appear within a few weeks after birth. The main symptom with this defect is some type of heart murmur. Infants may also have rapid breathing, especially during feeding.
A ventricular septal aneurysm should not be confused with an atrial septal aneurysm. An atrial septal aneurysm is also formed as a bulge or balloon within tissue. The difference is that the aneurysm occurs in the atrial septum. This wall is located in between the upper chambers of the heart.
It is important to be able to identify the signs and symptoms of a ventricular septal aneurysm before the aneurysm ruptures and causes massive bleeding. Cardiac insufficiency is the main symptom of an aneurysm because blood flow is reduced due to the bulging area. A recurring irregular heartbeat is another sign. Someone with an aneurysm may also experience a series of blood clots throughout the body.
If a cardiologist suspects there is a ventricular septal aneurysm, a magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) is performed. An MRA is a type of imaging test that uses a contrast dye and radio pulse waves to get pictures of the heart and arteries. An aneurysm will appear in these pictures.
Initial treatment for a ventricular septal aneurysm usually involves surgery, particularly when an irregular heart beat or life-threatening complications arise. A surgeon will remove the aneurysm and close the septal wall. The patient will be required to limit all activity and be retested to check the healing process.