Pulmonary atresia is a serious congenital heart defect that has been linked to antidepressant drugs such as Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft when taken by expecting mothers during pregnancy. If your baby has been diagnosed with pulmonary atresia and you took an antidepressant during pregnancy, you may be entitled to compensation for your child’s injuries. Your time may be running out – call us today.
Pulmonary Atresia Suit Review:If you or somebody you know has a child that has been diagnosed with pulmonary atresia related to an antidepressant medication, 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 drugs have been linked to pulmonary atresia?
The following antidepressants have been linked to the development of pulmonary atresia in newborn babies, infants, and children if their mothers 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)
What is Pulmonary Atresia (PA)?
Pulmonary atresia is a rare congenital birth defect in which the valve that lets blood flow from the right ventricle of the heart to the pulmonary valve is improperly formed or closed. This obstructs the outflow of blood from the heart to the lungs. Because the baby’s pulmonary valve is either missing or completely blocked, blood makes it way to the lungs through different pathways. It may get through a hole between the ventricles or a hole between the atria. Also, there is a blood vessel between the aorta and the pulmonary artery (ductus arteriosus) that can be kept open with medications to allow enough blood to travel to the lungs. In babies with PA, the ductus arteriosus may be the only way the blood gets to their lungs.
While developing in utero, a baby receives oxygen from the placenta before the lungs begin to function. Blood passes from the right side of the infant’s heart through a hole that allows oxygen-rich blood to flow to the left side of the heart and throughout the rest of the body. Shortly after birth, the hole closes and blood begins to flow through the lungs. In babies born with PA, however, the closed valve does not allow the baby’s heart to pump blood to the lungs to gain oxygen. Instead, the blood must get to the lungs through an alternate route to provide the infant with oxygen.
PA may occur with or without a ventricular septal defect (VSD). If the infant does not have a VSD, the defect is referred to as pulmonary atresia with intact ventricular septum (PA/IVS). If the baby is born with both conditions, the defect is called pulmonary atresia with ventricular septal defect, which is an extreme form of tetralogy of fallot (TOF). Although both conditions fall under the category of pulmonary atresia, they are actually different defects.
Symptoms & Complications of Pulmonary Atresia
Babies born with pulmonary atresia typically show signs and symptoms immediately after birth including:
- bluish tint to the skin and/or lips (cyanosis)
- rapid breathing
- shortness of breath
- nursing problems
If the defect is severe and not treated in a timely manner, complications of pulmonary atresia can include:
- infectious endocarditis
- delayed growth and development
- congestive heart failure
- abnormal heart rhythms (arrythmias)
- sudden death
Tests & Treatment for Pulmonary Atresia
Initially, your child’s doctor will use a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs. Babies suffering from pulmonary atresia will have a noticeable heart murmur that can be heard with a stethoscope. Once a heart murmur is detected, the following tests may be ordered:
- chest x-ray
- electrocardiogram (ECG)
- heart catheterization
- pulse oximetry (measures the amount of oxygen in the blood)
If the following tests are performed and it has been determined that the child has pulmonary atresia, a medicine called prostaglandin E1 can be used to help blood circulate into the lungs. Prostaglandin keeps the patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) open between the pulmonary artery and aorta. Other popular treatment methods may include:
- heart catheterization to repair the defect
- open heart surgery to repair or replace the valve, or to place a tube between the right ventricle and pulmonary arteries
- reconstructing the heart as a single ventricle
- total heart transplant
Babies born with pulmonary atresia may require multiple surgeries or catheterizations in their early years. As the child recovers and grows, he or she should follow a regular program of well-baby/well-child checkups. After any procedure involving pulmonary atresia, the child will be needed to be followed by a pediatric cardiologist who will:
- advise the parents on wound care while the baby is recovering
- monitor and adjust the child’s medications
- help with feeding problems
- measure oxygen levels
- determine if/when another procedure is needed
Surgical techniques for pulmonary atresia are continually being refined, with the long-term outlook continually improving. Nevertheless, children born with PA will require lifelong monitoring and medication, since he or she may be at risk for arrythmias, infections, leaky valves, heart failure or stroke.
Over the last few years, mounting research and numerous case studies have surfaced regarding the link between women who take antidepressants during pregnancy and babies being born with pulmonary atresia. At Schmidt & Clark, LLP, we are currently investigating potential lawsuits on behalf of families whose infant was affected by antidepressant side effects. If your child was born with pulmonary atresia or other serious birth defect, please contact us today for a free case consultation.
Is there a time limit in filing a pulmonary atresia lawsuit?
Although we encourage all our potential clients to take great care in selecting their pulmonary atresia 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 pulmonary atresia lawsuit and look forward to speaking with you.
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