The FDA warned women in 2005 about the risk of congenital cardiac defects in babies whose mothers used SSRI antidepressants, such as Lexapro, during pregnancy. Currently there is no Lexapro lawsuit class action in the United States and families are pursuing individual cases on behalf of their child. The most common heart disorder observed at the time involved atrial and ventricular septal defects (holes in the wall separating the left and right sides of the heart). Since then, in utero exposure to SSRIs has been linked to an increased risk of other cardiac abnormalities. Among the many serious Lexapro heart defects are heart valve problems, patent ductus arteriosis, and a life-threatening condition known as transposition of the great arteries (TGA).
We’ll describe TGA below, and explain its impact on a newborn’s health. We’ll also describe how the condition is treated, since without treatment, it is fatal. Many parents have looked into filing Lexapro lawsuit claims after their babies were born with one or more Lexapro birth defects, including those that affect the heart.
What Is Transposition Of The Great Arteries?
The heart’s two lower chambers (called ventricles) are attached to arteries that carry blood away from the organ. The right ventricle pumps blood into the pulmonary artery, which carries it to the lungs for oxygen. The left ventricle pumps oxygenated blood from the lungs into the aorta, which carries it to the body. This anatomy ensures the baby’s body receives sufficient oxygen.
With transposition of the great arteries, the two ventricles are attached to the wrong arteries. The right lower chamber pumps blood into the aorta while the left lower chamber pumps blood into the pulmonary artery.
The outcome is that oxygen-depleted blood arrives in the right atrium (upper chamber), is pumped to the right ventricle, which then pumps it to the body. The blood does not receive oxygen from the lungs. At the same time, oxygenated blood from the lungs arrives in the left atrium, is pumped to the left ventricle, which then pumps it back to the lungs. The oxygenated blood does not reach the body. As a result, the oxygen level in the blood circulating through the baby’s body drops. This causes severe problems that present symptoms shortly after birth.
How Transposition Of The Great Arteries Affects A Newborn
In many cases, a hole is present between the atria (i.e. an atrial septal defect, or ASD). This allows blood on the left and right sides to mix. Although an ASD is normally a problem, it is useful with TGA since it allows a limited amount of oxygen-rich blood on the left side of the heart to flow to the right side before being pumped to the body. The immediate health of the baby will depend, in large part, by the size of the ASD.
Despite the atrial septal defect, the infant’s oxygen level will remain dangerously low, and may even decline. Signs of cyanosis might be evident immediately following birth due to too little oxygen throughout the body. The baby may also display shortness of breath. If the condition is left uncorrected, it can lead to lung damage as well as heart failure. Most infants die within six months in the absence of treatment.
Repairing The Heart Defect
Correcting transposition of the great arteries requires surgical intervention. Prior to surgery, a balloon atrial septostomy may be performed to widen the ASD. If the ductus arteriosus (a fetal shunt) is still open, it too may be expanded. This is done to allow more oxygenated blood to reach the body when surgery cannot be performed immediately.
There are two approaches to surgically correcting TGA. The first is called an arterial switch. The surgeon detaches the pulmonary artery and aorta from their respective ventricles, and reattaches them to their proper ventricles. If an ASD is present, it is closed during the procedure.
The second option is called an atrial switch. The surgeon expands the existing ASD, or creates a hole between the atria if one is not already present. This allows oxygen-depleted blood that arrives in the right atrium to flow to the left side of the heart so it can be pumped to the lungs. It also allows oxygen-rich blood in the left atrium to flow to the right side of the heart so it can be pumped to the body. This approach is rarely used to resolve TGA since an arterial switch offers a better outcome.
Lexapro Lawsuit 2012 Help
Transposition of the great arteries is one of many serious Lexapro heart defects. Although babies do well after surgery, the disorder is fatal if it is left uncorrected. If you used Lexapro during pregnancy, and your child developed TGA or other side effects, you may be able to file a Lexapro lawsuit. Contact a Lexapro birth defects lawsuit attorney to discuss your legal options. There is currently no national Lexapro lawsuit class action in the United States and we are working individually with families affected by birth defects caused by Lexapro.
Making A Difference
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