Afghan kids to be treated for Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) in India. What is it?

India will help cure 4,000 Afghan children having heart disease, Afghanistan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) said. Most of the children have a 'hole in heart' condition, which in medical terms is called Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), Khaama press reported Afghanistan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) as saying on Sunday. India will spend over $3,000 on each heart patient in the coming five years. If the expenses exceed $4,000, the remaining balance would be paid by the ARCS. (Read: Heart disease -- causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention)

Praising India's efforts for helping Afghan children, ARCS spokesperson said, India has always assisted ARCS. Indian Ambassador Amar Sinha said it was a pleasure for him to see the Indian government supporting Afghanistan. Sinha said, India will also train Afghan cardiologists to handle simple cardiac cases in Afghanistan. (Read: Life about open heart surgery)

What is Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)?

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This condition is quite common in children and rarely seen in adults. In this condition, there is a hole in the wall that separates the two ventricles (lower chambers) of the heart. As in normal case, the wall fuses before the birth and thus, prevents the oxygenated blood from mixing with deoxygenated blood. But in case of VSD, in which the hole doesn t fuse, higher blood pressure in the heart or reduced oxygen to the body is experienced.

If the hole is small, the only way one can diagnose the condition is through abnormal heart murmur, which is heard when your doctor checks your heart with the stethoscope. But if the opening is big, kids may find it difficult while feeding, breathe faster than normal and may not grow at a normal rate. Also, high pressure in the lungs might damage the blood vessels over time.

While there isn t any surgery or treatment option for small VSD (as it is believed to fuse as one ages), larger openings are often treated with open heart surgery. In this, normally a patch of the outer lining of the heart (pericardium) is surgically removed and sewn over the hole to cover it. With time, this is covered with the heart lining and becomes a permanent one. (Read: Alternative to open heart surgery)

With inputs from IANS

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