Persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) is one of several serious Lexapro birth defects. If your child developed a birth defect after using this medication during pregnancy, please contact us for the latest Lexapro birth defects lawsuit news and 2011 litigation updates. It affects the way blood circulates in a baby’s body, and specifically whether the blood reaches the lungs for oxygenation. The FDA warned in 2006 that using SSRI antidepressants, such as Lexapro (also known as escitalopram), during the second half of pregnancy could increase the risk of this disorder. Left untreated, it can become life-threatening.
A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2006 demonstrated the extent of the risk. Researchers found that babies exposed to escitalopram in the womb were six times more likely to develop PPHN than babies that were not exposed to such drugs. Following the FDA’s warning, many parents have explored filing Lexapro PPHN lawsuit claims on behalf of their children.
The birth defect is not immediately recognizable at birth. Nor does prenatal ultrasound help to identify it since its primary characteristic – failure of the blood to reach the lungs – is only evident following birth. Thus, the doctor must perform a number of tests post-childbirth to diagnosis the condition.
When Lexapro and PPHN side effects present in a newborn, the doctor will order x-rays of the chest. The images may reveal abnormalities that indicate an enlarged heart or signs of pulmonary disease. X-rays are inconclusive, but can provide insight into the infant’s symptoms, and prompt the physician to order further tests.
Ultrasound For Cardiac Imaging
Ultrasound imaging of the heart (echocardiogram) reveals more than mere structural abnormalities. The images will display the manner in which blood flows. Normally, blood flows from the right-lower chamber of the heart (right ventricle) into the pulmonary artery en route to the lungs. In babies born with PPHN, a fetal shunt called the ductus arteriosus, which normally closes after birth, remains open. This shunt carries blood from the pulmonary artery to the aortic arch, from which it travels to the body.
By noting that the ductus arteriosus remains open, the doctor can begin to construct a diagnosis for persistent pulmonary hypertension.
Ultrasound For Cerebral Imaging
Images are also taken of the brain if the physician suspects bleeding may have occurred. This test is ordered to identify a hemorrhage that may jeopardize the health of the baby rather than to help make a diagnosis of PPHN.
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
This blood test is ordered to determine whether other conditions are contributing to the infant’s symptoms. It measures the number of red blood cells as well as the protein within the red blood cells that carries oxygen (called hemoglobin). This may reveal that the baby has anemia.
A CBC also measures white blood cells, which play an important role in fighting infections. If the test shows an abnormal level of white blood cells, it may suggest the infant has a bacterial infection or inflammation somewhere in the body.
The number of platelets in the blood is also measured. Platelets play a role in the formation of blood clots to prevent bleeding. A low count may indicate a hemorrhage.
Arterial Blood Gas (ABG)
The purpose of an arterial blood gas test is to determine how well oxygen is being delivered throughout the baby’s body. It measures the level of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the arteries.
The primary function of the lungs is to facilitate the exchange of gases into, and from, the blood. Oxygen moves into the blood while carbon dioxide is pulled from it. If the level of oxygen is low compared to the level of carbon dioxide, it may indicate that blood is not reaching the lungs properly. Because such an imbalance may also suggest other lung diseases, results from an ABG are inconclusive for diagnosing persistent pulmonary hypertension.
Lexapro Lawsuit Settlements
Lexapro and birth defects involving PPHN can become life-threatening in the absence of treatment. That said, it is important to note that many other serious congenital disorders have been linked to this SSRI antidepressant. If your baby is suffering from health issues that are the result of Lexapro birth defects, you may be able to file a claim against the drug’s manufacturer. Contact an experienced Lexapro birth defects lawsuit lawyer to discuss your case.
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We believe that the manufacturer of Lexapro should be held accountable for any harm they are legally responsible for and people should be fairly compensated for their damages due to Lexapro birth defects side effects. Many families and their child have had their life changed in a number of ways due to Lexapro and birth defects including... find out more
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Lexapro Birth Defects Lawsuit
Lexapro birth defects lawsuit claims continue to be filed by families affected by Lexapro birth defects. Lexapro is a type of antidepressant that targets certain chemicals to balance them in the brain... find out more