Heart Birth Defects and Antidepressants

When the heart of a baby does not develop properly, that infant is said to have a congenital heart birth defect and can suffer life-long health and developmental problems.  In some cases, congenital heart defects can be caused when the mother takes antidepressants such as Zoloft during pregnancy.

There are a number of different types of congenital birth defects of the heart, and they can range from a slight irregularity to a life-threatening condition requiring a heart transplant or other surgery.  Learn more about the cardiac birth defects caused by Zoloft and other antidepressants such as Effexor, Pristiq, Celexa, Lexapro, and Prozac.

Coarctation of the Aorta

When a baby’s aorta is too narrow, it can cause uneven blood flow.  The aorta is the large artery that pumps blood into the body from the heart.  Sometimes surgery is needed to fix this congenital birth defect of the heart, and a doctor may place a tube known as a catheter into the aorta to inflate it.

Heart Valve Abnormalities

When an infant’s heart valves are blocked, narrowed, or do not close normally, it can cause poor blood flow through the body.  Common heart valve abnormalities include:

  • Ebstein’s anomaly
  • Pulmonary Atresia
  • Pulmonary Valve Stenosis

Heart valve abnormalities can be treated with catheters or the replacement of faulty valves with man-made alternatives.

Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

This congenital heart defect can be life-threatening, and it occurs when the left side of the heart fails to develop completely.  The left side of the heart is the part of the heart that pumps blood, and poor development of the mitral valve, left ventricle, or aorta, all on the left side of the heart, can lead to sudden death.  Numerous surgeries are needed to correct this congenital heart defect, with the first operation taking place just days after a baby is born.  In some cases, a life-saving heart transplant is needed.

Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA)

The ductus arteriosis is a large artery that should close shortly after birth.  This artery allows blood to pass by the lungs before a fetus is born, since a fetus gets its oxygen through the placenta before birth.  If the ductus arteriosis does not close soon after birth, the heart does not get oxygen.  This congenital heart defect can be treated with medications or with surgery, depending on severity.

Septal Heart Defect

When a hole develops in the wall (septum) of the heart, it is called a septal defect.  The septum separates the left and right sides of the heart, and when a baby is born with a septal defect it can cause improper circulation.  When there is a hole in the wall between the upper chambers of the heart, it is known as an atrial septal defect (ASD).  A ventricular (VSD) septal defect is a hole between the heart’s lower chambers.  In severe cases, open heart surgery is needed to correct septal defects.

Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)

Tetralogy of Fallot is a combination of four heart defects and can lead to poor oxygenation of the blood.  When a newborn has TOF, he or she may have difficulty feeding and poor development, as well as episodes of blue coloration of the skin known as cyanosis.  Surgery is needed to repair this congenital heart defect.

Transposition of the Great Arteries

When the two major arteries carrying blood from the heart (the aorta and the pulmonary artery) are switched, it can cause a severe lack of oxygen in newborns.  Early surgery is often needed to correct transposition of the great arteries

Contact an Antidepressant Heart Defect Lawyer

Many mothers who took antidepressants during pregnancy were not aware of the increased risk of cardiac birth defects associated with these drugs.  If a child in your life was born with a heart defect after his mother used antidepressants during pregnancy, you may be able to file a dangerous drug lawsuit for compensation.  Contact a product liability attorney today for a free review of your claim.

June 6, 2011 | Tags: Birth Defects, Celexa, Dangerous Drugs, Lexapro, Zoloft

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