We previously demonstrated an abnormally high right ventricular systolic pressure response to exercise in 50% of adolescents operated on for isolated ventricular septal defect. The present study investigated the prevalence of abnormal right ventricular systolic pressure response in 20 adult (age 30–45 years) patients who underwent surgery for early ventricular septal defect closure and its association with impaired ventricular function, pulmonary function, or exercise capacity. The patients underwent cardiopulmonary tests, including exercise stress echocardiography. Five of 19 patients (26%) presented an abnormal right ventricular systolic pressure response to exercise ⩾ 52 mmHg. Right ventricular systolic function was mixed, with normal tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion and fractional area change, but abnormal tricuspid annular systolic motion velocity (median 6.7 cm/second) and isovolumetric acceleration (median 0.8 m/second2). Left ventricular systolic and diastolic function was normal at rest as measured by the peak systolic velocity of the lateral wall and isovolumic acceleration, early diastolic velocity, and ratio of early diastolic flow to tissue velocity, except for ejection fraction (median 53%). The myocardial performance index was abnormal for both the left and right ventricle. Peak oxygen uptake was normal (mean z score −0.4, 95% CI −2.8–0.3). There was no association between an abnormal right ventricular systolic pressure response during exercise and right or left ventricular function, pulmonary function, or exercise capacity. Abnormal right ventricular pressure response is not more frequent in adult patients compared with adolescents. This does not support the theory of progressive pulmonary vascular disease following closure of left-to-right shunts.