Ventricular Septal Defect

When the development of an unborn baby is interrupted in utero by an outside factor, such as maternal use of a potentially dangerous pharmaceutical drug, the result may be a debilitating heart birth defect called a ventricular septal defect. Ventricular septal defects affect the formation of the heart during the early stages of pregnancy, and without treatment, the deformity can cause serious problems for the affected individual, during childhood or later in life. If your child was born with a “hole in the heart” birth defect like a ventricular septal defect, and you believe a pharmaceutical drug to be the cause, contact a knowledgeable birth defect lawyer today for legal help. You may have grounds to file a product liability lawsuit against the drug manufacturing company, in order to seek fair and timely reimbursement for your losses.

Ventricular Septal Defect Lawsuit // Ford & Associates

What is a Ventricular Septal Defect?

A ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a “hole in the heart” birth defect that is present at birth, and occurs when there is a hole in the wall that separates the lower chambers of the heart, allowing blood to pass from the left to the right side of the heart. As a result of the malformation, oxygen-rich blood then gets pumped back to the lungs rather than out to the rest of the body, which forces the heart to work harder to keep the tissues oxygenated and the organs working properly. Some common symptoms of a ventricular septal defect in babies include the following:

  • Fast breathing or breathlessness
  • Poor eating
  • Failure to thrive
  • Easy tiring
  • Failure to gain weight
  • Heart murmur

What Causes “Hole in the Heart” Birth Defects?

There is often no clear cause of a ventricular septal defect, but the congenital malformation arises from problems occurring early in the development of the heart, while the unborn baby is in the mother’s womb. A ventricular septal defect occurs during fetal development, when the muscular wall separating the left and right sides of the heart, or the septum, fails to form properly between the lower chambers of the heart, or the ventricles. There are several factors that may increase a baby’s risk of developing a ventricular septal defect during pregnancy, including the use of certain pharmaceutical drugs by expectant mothers. The following are some widely-used medications that research shows may make a baby more likely to suffer a ventricular septal defect, when taken during pregnancy:

  • Zofran (ondansetron) – An anti-nausea drug intended to treat cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy that is sometimes prescribed off-label to pregnant women experiencing severe morning sickness.
  • SSRI antidepressants – A powerful class of prescription medications commonly used to treat depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mood disorders.
  • Depakote (valproate) – A widely-used anticonvulsant drug commonly prescribed to treat epilepsy and prevent chronic migraine headaches in pregnant women.

Complications of Heart Birth Defects

A small ventricular septal defect may cause no problems for the affected individual, and some VSDs may even close on their own, without the need for intervention. However, larger VSDs can cause a wide range of disabilities, and typically require surgery early in life to prevent serious complications like pulmonary hypertension, endocarditis and other heart problems, such as abnormal heart rhythms and valve problems. Closing a large ventricular septal defect by open-heart surgery is usually done in infancy or childhood, even in patients with minor symptoms, to prevent potentially life-threatening complications later in life.

Contact a Knowledgeable Birth Defect Lawyer Today

According to the National Institutes of Health, ventricular septal defects are one of the most common congenital heart malformations, affecting between 30% and 60% of all newborns with a heart birth defect, or between two and six children per 1,000 births. However, when expectant mothers take certain pharmaceutical drugs while pregnant, the risk of ventricular septal defects and other heart birth defects may increase significantly. If you used a powerful medication like Depakote or Zofran during pregnancy, and your child has suffered a ventricular septal defect or another major congenital malformation, consult an experienced birth defect attorney to explore your possible compensation options. With a knowledgeable lawyer on your side, you can protect your legal rights and pursue the compensation your child deserves for his or her injuries.

Ventricular 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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