Atrial Septal Defect

An atrial septal defect is a major congenital malformation that affects the formation of a baby’s heart during fetal development, and may be more likely to occur in unborn babies exposed to certain pharmaceutical drugs in utero. If your baby was born with an atrial septal defect or another serious heart birth defect, and you believe a defective prescription or over-the-counter medication to be the cause, contact an experienced product liability lawyer today for legal help. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your child’s injuries, past and future medical expenses, and pain and suffering, which you can pursue by filing a birth defect lawsuit against the drug manufacturing company.

Atrial Septal Defect Lawsuit // Ford & Associates

Atrial Septal Defect Described

An atrial septal defect (ASD) is a “hole in the heart” birth defect characterized by a hole in the wall separating the two upper chambers of the heart, called atria. The malformation is congenital, or present from birth, and allows freshly oxygenated blood from the left atrium to mix with deoxygenated blood in the right atrium, or vice versa, which can result in decreased oxygen levels in the blood that supplies the brain, organs and tissues. Some of the most common symptoms of an atrial septal defect include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath, especially when exercising
  • Frequent lung infections
  • Swelling of the abdomen, feet or legs
  • Heart palpitations or skipped beats
  • Stroke
  • Heart murmur

Possible Causes of Atrial Septal Defects

It is common knowledge that atrial septal defects present at birth are caused by problems occurring early in the heart’s development while the child is still in the womb. And, while there is often no clear cause of “hole in the heart” birth defects, a growing body of research has shown that the use of certain pharmaceutical drugs during pregnancy may increase an unborn baby’s risk of suffering severe birth defects, including atrial septal defects and ventricular septal defects. Some of the more popular prescription drugs that have been linked to an alleged increased risk of atrial septal defects in babies include the following:

  • Zofran (ondansetron) – A powerful anti-nausea medication sometimes prescribed to pregnant women struggling with severe morning sickness.
  • Depakote (valproate) – A popular anti-epileptic drug commonly used to treat epileptic seizures, migraine headaches and bipolar disorder.
  • Paxil (paroxetine) – An SSRI antidepressant drug used to treat depression, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other psychiatric disorders.
  • Zoloft (sertraline) – An SSRI antidepressant prescribed to treat major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other mood disorders.

Long-Term Effects of Hole in the Heart Birth Defects

Small atrial septal defects may cause no symptoms for affected individuals, and some may even close on their own during infancy or early childhood. However, large ASDs can cause damage to the heart and lungs, and may require surgery to prevent complications caused by the hole in the heart. In some cases, adults with an undetected atrial septal defect may have a shorter life span from problems like heart failure or pulmonary hypertension, high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs. If the atrial septal defect is large, the extra blood volume caused by the heart pumping oxygen-rich blood to the lungs may overfill the lungs and overwork the heart, causing serious and potentially life-threatening complications, like right-sided heart failure, heart rhythm abnormalities and stroke.

Contact an Experienced Birth Defect Attorney

Like ventricular septal defects, atrial septal defects are relatively common birth defects, present in one child per 1,500 births, and the malformation actually makes up 30% to 40% of all congenital heart diseases that are seen in adults. If you took a prescription drug like Zofran, Depakote or Paxil during pregnancy, and your child was born with an atrial septal defect or another serious congenital heart malformation, consult a reputable birth defect attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. With an experienced product liability lawyer on your side, you can ensure that your legal rights are protected, and seek fair and timely reimbursement for your child’s birth defect and any related medical expenses.

Atrial Septal Defect (a congenital heart defect) may be linked to infant exposure to Zofran, Depakote, or SSRI antidepressants (like Paxil or Zoloft) during pregnancy. // Ford & Associates

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Additional Zofran Resources

Wikipedia – Ondansetron

Zofran Lawsuit Help Center

Birth defects blamed on unapproved morning sickness treatment

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