Babies born to mothers who took anti-depressants during pregnancy have experienced life-threatening congenital heart defects. Anti-depressants may cause Tricuspid Atresia (TA), in which the tricuspid valve is missing or abnormal. Major surgery is required to treat TA. If untreated, the condition will lead to heart failure and infant death.
Tricuspid Atresia Lawsuit Review: If you or somebody you know has a child that has been diagnosed with Tricuspid Atresia after being exposed to an anti-depressant 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.
What anti-depressants have been linked to Tricuspid Atresia?
Several studies have linked anti-depressants taken during pregnancy — and also up to a year before pregnancy — with a greater risk of having a baby with severe birth defects.
The following anti-depressants may cause life-threatening birth defects, such as Tricuspid Atresia:
- Paxil (paroxetine)
- Zoloft (sertraline)
- Celexa (citalopram)
- Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
- Symbyax (fluoxetine and olanzapine)
- Wellbutrin (bupropion)
- Effexor (venlafaxine)
What is Tricuspid Atresia?
Tricuspid Atresia is a congenital heart disease of the tricuspid valve, in which the valve is missing or abnormally developed. Instead of a valve, the baby is born with a solid wall of tissue between two chambers of the heart. Blood is unable to flow through the heart and into the lungs to become oxygenated. It is a relatively uncommon birth defect, affecting about 5 in every 100,000 live births. If left untreated, it can lead to death. With surgery in the first few years of life, prognosis is usually good — a baby born with TA may live 20 or 30 years before needing additional surgery.
What is the Tricuspid Valve? The tricuspid valve (also known as the right atrioventricular valve) is one of the valves in the heart, separating the right atrium and the right ventricle of the heart. It is responsible for ensuring that blood flows only one way through the heart. If the tricuspid valve does not close completely, a person may experience an irregular heartbeat (also known as atrial fibrillation). If it does not open, blood cannot flow through the heart to become oxygenated in the lungs.
Signs & Symptoms of Tricuspid Atresia
Tricuspid Atresia is a congenital condition, which means that it is present at birth. If left untreated, it will become worse over time, ultimately leading to death because the heart cannot provide the body with enough oxygenated blood to survive. Usually, Tricuspid Atresia will be diagnosed before the baby is born, while a doctor is performing a routine prenatal ultrasound. When a doctor listens to the baby’s heart, TA is identifiable as a “murmur” due to the irregular heartbeat.
Like most congenital heart defects, TA is not life-threatening while the baby is in the womb, because it receives oxygenated blood from its mother. However, as soon as the baby is born, it will show symptoms of TA.
- Cyanosis (bluish discoloration of the skin, lips, fingernails, or body)
- Easy fatigue
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
- Fast breathing
- Poor growth
Treatment & Prognosis
Specific treatment for Tricuspid Atresia will be determined by the child’s physician, and will depend on many factors, including the child’s age, health, medical history, the extent of the disease, and the opinion of the parent.
Surgery is always required to treat Tricuspid Atresia. A 3-stage surgical procedure called the Fontan procedure is performed during the infant’s first two years of life.
- 1) Blalock-Taussig shunt: This is the first procedure, usually performed within the first few days of an infant’s life. The baby is given an intravenous medication (IV) called prostaglandin E1, which keeps the the Patent Ductus Ateriosus (PDA) from closing. The PDA is a small opening in the heart that is present at birth, but normally closes within the first few days of life. By keeping the PDA open, a small amount of oxygenated blood will be able to get into the left atrium and mix with oxygenated blood. Surgery to insert the Blalock-Taussig shunt will keep the PDA open until further surgery can be performed.
- 2) Glenn shunt: When the baby is 4-12 months of age, a second operation is performed. The Blalock-Taussig shunt is removed, and the superior vena cava (the vein that brings oxygen-poor blood to the heart) is attached to the pulmonary artery. This allows some blood to be oxygenated, but the child will remain mildly cyanotic until the final procedure. The benefit of the Glenn shunt is that it can be performed earlier on children than the full Fontan procedure.
- 3) Fontan procedure: The third phase is performed when the child is 18-36 months of age. The Glenn shunt is left in place, and the right atrium of the heart is attached to the pulmonary artery, thus bypassing the right ventricle and the abnormal valve entirely.
Children with Tricuspid Atresia who undergo the Fontan procedure are expected to live 15-30 years before needing additional surgery.
Is there a time limit in filing a Tricuspid Atresia birth defect lawsuit?
Although we encourage all our potential clients to take great care in selecting their Tricuspid 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 antidepressant-induced Tricuspid Atresia birth defect lawsuit and look forward to speaking with you.
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