Coarctation of the Aorta (COA) is a birth defect of the heart, in which the aorta is narrowed. This constriction usually requires surgery, because if untreated, it can lead to serious side-effects, including heart failure and death. Severe heart defects — like Coarctation of the Aorta — have been linked to antidepressants, SSRIs, and hypertension medication taken by mothers while they were pregnant.

Do I Have a Coarctation of the Aorta Lawsuit? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or a loved one has given birth to a child with a birth defect after taking an SSRI, antidepressant, hypertension medicine, or other medication during pregnancy, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Coarctation of the Aorta lawsuit.

What drugs have been linked to Coarctation of the Aorta?

Are you pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant? You should tell your doctor about all medications you take — over-the-counter medicines, prescription medications, herbal supplements, dietary supplements, and others. Some medications can cause serious birth defects. Do not start or stop taking any medication before consulting your physician.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and Antidepressant Medications

These include:

Pain Medication / Cough Medicine: A publication in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology found that pregnant women who use some types of pain medication (or cough medicine) are more likely to have babies with cardiovascular birth defects.

These medications include:

  • Oxycontin
  • Oxycodone
  • Codeine
  • Some Cough Medication

Asthma Medications: A study found that women who have asthma and take asthma medications (sometimes known as “bronchodilators”) during pregnancy were more likely to have babies born with birth defects affecting the heart.

Hypertension Medication: The CDC also made a warning concerning the use of hypertension medication during pregnancy, after a study linked its use to several congenital heart defects.

Coarctation of the Aorta (COA) Overview

COA, also known as “aortic coarctation,” is a narrowing of the aorta. The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body, and it carries oxygen-rich blood out of the heart and to the rest of the body. In COA, the aorta is too narrow for blood to pass through efficiently, forcing the heart to work very hard.

This is a congenital birth defect, meaning that it develops when the baby is in the womb and is present at birth. It may be mild or severe; mild cases may not be diagnosed until adulthood. If left untreated, however, COA often leads to serious complications.

Complications of COA include high blood pressure, stroke, rupture of the aorta, premature coronary artery disease, and cerebral aneurysm. Heart failure is also a major risk. Because the heart must work harder to force blood through the constricted aorta, the heart muscle may enlarge, thicken, and become too stiff to adequately pump blood to the body.

Signs & Symptoms of Coarctation of the Aorta

Individuals may show no symptoms of COA if the narrowing is not severe. COA may not cause symptoms until the patient is older. If a newborn has this birth defect, around half will show symptoms within the first few days of life.

Babies born with COA will usually have pale skin, be sweaty, irritable, and have difficulty breathing.

Other symptoms include:

  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Pounding Headache
  • Chest Pain
  • Cold feet or legs
  • Nosebleed
  • Leg Cramps with exercise
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) with exercise
  • Decreased ability to exercise
  • Failure to thrive
  • Poor growth

When a doctor is examining a patient, sometimes the pulse in the femoral artery (in the groin) will be weak or nonexistent. Usually it is weaker than the pulse in the carotid artery (in the neck). Blood pressure may also be significantly lower in the lower body than in the arms.

The doctor can also examine the patient’s heart and check for a heart “murmur.” The doctor will listen for an abnormal sound by blood flowing improperly through the heart. In COA, the murmur is particularly harsh and can be heard from the back.

In infants, severe COA is usually diagnosed shortly after birth, when the physician listens to the baby’s heart with a stethoscope. Further imaging tests will be necessary to definitively diagnose COA — usually a chest X-ray or echocardiogram.

Treatment & Prognosis

End-to-end Anastomosis: This surgery is used when the heart defect is small, and involves removing the narrowed part of the aorta and connecting the normal parts.

Patch aortoplasty: This surgery involves surgically widening the existing aorta. The surgeon makes an incision in the narrowed area, and attaches a graft to widen the vessel.

Bypass graft repair: This surgery is used when the narrowed part of the aorta is large. The defective area of the aorta is removed entirely. Usually, a synthetic aortic tube (known as a Dacron graft) is used to fill the gap.

Balloon angioplasty: This is usually an option for older patients who have had surgery early in life, but experienced a re-narrowing of the aorta. In this procedure, a doctor inserts a catheter with a balloon-tip into the large artery in the groin, and then guides it to the narrowed part of the aorta. When the balloon is inflated, it stretches the constricted vessel.

Long-term prognosis for people who undergo surgery is usually good. Usually, people born with COA undergo surgery in infancy, and most doctors recommend surgery before the person is ten years old. Without treatment, most people die before age 40. A person who is born with COA will need regular check-ups, because the narrowing of the aorta can return later in life.

Do I Have a Coarctation of the Aorta Lawsuit?

For a free consultation, please contact Collen A. Clark at The Clark Firm, LLP immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Coarctation of the Aorta lawsuit.

Collen’s amazing success in the courtroom and well known dedication to his clients has earned him the recognition of his peers as one of The Top Trial Lawyers in Texas.”

The Clark Firm has assembled a team of trial lawyers with more that 100 years experience, participation in over 600 jury trials and $60 million in verdicts and/or settlements. Please use the form below to contact us for a free Coarctation of the Aorta birth defect lawsuit review.