Mounting research and numerous case studies have found a link between certain congenital birth defects and the use of antidepressant drugs during pregnancy. One of the most severe defects to be associated with antidepressants is a rare heart condition known as transposition of the great arteries (TGA). In babies born with TGA, the heart’s two major vessels – the pulmonary artery and the aorta – are switched (transposed). This affects the way blood circulates throughout the body and causes extreme difficulty with normal functioning.
Transposition of the Great Arteries Lawsuit Review: If you or somebody you know has a child who has been diagnosed with transposition of the great arteries 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 drugs have been linked to transposition of the great arteries?
It has been generally accepted by the medical community that pregnant women should avoid taking antidepressants – they are hazardous to the developing fetus, and can cause transposition of the great arteries and other life-threatening birth defects in newborn babies. If pregnant women need help dealing with the symptoms of depression or other psychological conditions, they should seek counseling or psychotherapy before considering taking antidepressant drugs. The following prescription medications have been linked to the development of TGA in children born to mothers who took the drugs 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)
Transposition of the Great Arteries Overview
Transposition of the ‘great arteries’ – the aorta and pulmonary artery – is a severe congenital (present at birth) defect caused by abnormal development of the fetal heart during the first trimester of pregnancy. In a normal heart, oxygen-poor (blue) blood returns from the body to the right atrium, travels to the right ventricle, then is pumped through the pulmonary artery into the lungs where it is replenished with oxygen. Oxygen-rich (red) blood returns to the left atrium from the lungs, passes into the left ventricle, and then is pumped through the aorta and out into the body.
TGA occurs when the aorta is connected to the right ventricle, and the pulmonary artery is connected to the left ventricle – the exact opposite of the normal heart’s anatomy. Oxygen-poor blood returns to the right atrium from the body, passes through the right ventricle, then goes into the misconnected aorta back out to the body without being replenished with oxygen. Oxygen-rich blood returns to the left atrium from the lungs, passes through the left ventricle, then goes into the pulmonary artery and back to the lungs.
Symptoms of Transposition of the Great Arteries
Telltale signs and symptoms of transposition of the great arteries typically display themselves at birth or soon thereafter. The severity of the symptoms depends on the type and size of the defect, and how much oxygen is able to move through the body’s general blood flow. Commonly reported symptoms of antidepressant-induced TGA include:
- Blueness of the skin
- Clubbing of the fingers or toes
- Poor feeding
- Shortness of breath
- Heart failure
When a baby is born displaying symptoms of cyanosis, they are usually treated with supplemental oxygen. In cases of lung disease this often will improve the oxygen levels, but in cardiac problems such as TGA, there will be little to no effect on the infant’s oxygen levels.
Failure to respond to supplemental oxygen is often the first clue that TGA may be present. Echocardiography can be used to analyze the abnormal connections of the great arteries, as well as other important features of the cardiac anatomy. If questions about the defect remain, cardiac catheterization may be performed to clarify some details of the anomaly.
Treatment & Prognosis (Outlook)
A baby born with transposition of the great arteries will immediately receive prostaglandin through an IV line to keep the ductus arteriosus open, which will allow some mixing of the two blood circulations. Cardiac catheterization (balloon atrial septostomy) may be used to create a hole in the atrial septum to allow oxygenated and unoxygenated blood to mix. A surgical procedure called an arterial switch is used to permanently correct TGA within the first week or two of the infant’s life. This process involves switching the great arteries back to their normal position and attaching the coronary arteries to the aorta.
Although TGA was first described in the medical literature over 200 years ago, no feasible treatment was available for the condition until the middle of the 20th century. Landmark breakthroughs included the advent of surgical atrial septectomy in the 1950s and balloon atrial septostomy in the 1960s. These revolutionary advances were later complimented by the mastery of the atrial and arterial switch repair procedures. Today, the survival rate for babies born with transposition of the great arteries is over 90%.
Is there a time limit in filing a transposition of the great arteries lawsuit?
Although we encourage all our potential clients to take great care in selecting their transposition of the great arteries 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 transposition of the great arteries birth defect lawsuit and look forward to speaking with you.
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