Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are a class of prescription medications used to treat the symptoms of depression and other serious psychological conditions. The use of SSRIs such as Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft by women during pregnancy is a controversial topic, as the drugs have become increasingly linked to a variety of severe congenital abnormalities including mitral valve prolapse (MVP). This condition affects the function of the infant’s heart, and can be fatal if not treated in a timely manner.
Mitral Valve Prolapse Lawsuit Review: If you or somebody you know has a child who has been diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse after being exposed to an antidepressant medication in the womb, you should contact our lawyers immediately. Consultations are always free. Please use our confidential email contact form or call toll free 24 hrs/day by dialing (866) 588-0600.
Which Antidepressants have been linked to Mitral Valve Prolapse?
The following antidepressants have been associated with the development of mitral valve prolapse in children born to mothers who took them during pregnancy (especially during the first trimester, a time when many women may still be unaware they are pregnant):
- Paxil (paroxetine)
- Zoloft (sertraline)
- Celexa (citalopram)
- Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
- Symbyax (fluoxetine and olanzapine)
- Wellbutrin (bupropion)
- Effexor (venlafaxine)
Mitral Valve Prolapse Overview
Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is a rare congenital birth defect that affects the mitral valve, a two-flapped heart valve located between the left atrium and the left ventricle. In babies born with MVP, one or both of the valve flaps are too large, and the valve itself is unable to close evenly with each beat of the heart. Because it is unable to close properly, the valve balloons back into the left atrium, causing what is referred to as a ‘click.’ With the flap there may sometimes be a slight backward leaking of blood (regurgitation), which results in an audible heart murmur that can be detected by a doctor with a stethoscope.
Mitral valve prolapse is known by a number of other names including:
- Balloon mitral valve
- Barlow’s syndrome
- Billowing mitral valve
- Click-murmur syndrome
- Floppy valve syndrome
- Myxomatous mitral valve
- Prolapsing mitral valve syndrome
What are the Symptoms of Mitral Valve Prolapse?
Telltale signs and symptoms of antidepressant-induced mitral valve prolapse typically occur because blood is leaking backward through the valve (regurgitation). MVP symptoms can vary greatly from one patient to the next, and may include:
- a racing or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, often when lying flat or during physical activity
- chest pain that’s not caused by a heart attack or coronary artery disease
Many individuals born with mitral valve prolapse never experience any symptoms. However, a number of rare complications may occur including chest pain and irregular heart beat, both of which can be treated with beta-blockers. Another rare complication involves the formation of blood clots on the valve, making patients with MVP susceptible to strokes.
The most common and serious complication associated with mitral valve prolapse is endocarditis, a condition which is characterized by bacterial infection of the mitral valve. Although it can be fatal if left untreated, endocarditis can be effectively managed with medication. Individuals with mitral valve prolapse are most commonly vulnerable to contracting endocarditis when they are undergoing certain medical procedures, dental work, or minor surgery.
Diagnosis & Outlook (Prognosis)
MVP is most often detected during a routine physical examination of your baby by a doctor with a stethoscope. Stretched heart valves tend to make a clicking noise as they shut. If the mitral valve is leaking blood back into the left atrium, an audible heart murmur or whooshing sound may be present. However, these sounds may not always be present and may come and go unpredictably. Your baby’s doctor may not hear them at the time of the exam, even if your child has full-blown mitral valve prolapse. If this is the case, your baby may have to undergo additional testing to conclusively diagnose MVP. Tests may include:
- Echocardiography (echo) – The most useful tool for diagnosing MVP, echo tests utilize sound waves to create a moving picture of your child’s heart. Echocardiography shows the size and shape of the heart, and tells how well the heart chambers and valves are working.
- Doppler Ultrasound – Commonly used as part of an echo test, doppler ultrasounds show the speed and direction of blood flow through the mitral valve.
- Chest X-ray – Used to look for fluid in the lungs or to show whether the heart is enlarged.
- Electrocardiogram (EKG) – An EKG is used to record the heart’s electrical activity. This test can show how fast the heart is beating and whether its rhythm is steady or irregular. EKGs also record the strength and timing of electrical signals as they pass through your baby’s heart.
The outcome for babies born with mitral valve prolapse largely depends on the underlying conditions accompanying the defect. In most cases MVP is benign, so no therapy or restriction is necessary. Most symptoms can be effectively managed with prescription medications. In severe cases of MVP, valve repair or valve replacement may be required.
Is there a time limit in filing a Mitral Valve Prolapse Lawsuit?
Although we encourage all our potential clients to take great care in selecting their mitral valve prolapse lawyer, it is important that you understand that time is of the essence. The applicable statute of limitations in your state may time bar your claim. Furthermore, we are unable to provide you with legal advice without first evaluating your potential case. Accordingly, please take the time now to contact us by using the confidential email contact form below or by calling us toll free 24 hrs/day by dialing (866) 588-0600.
We hope we will be able to assist you with your potential antidepressant-induced mitral valve prolapse birth defects lawsuit and look forward to speaking with you.
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