Dandy-Walker Syndrome is a serious, life-threatening birth defect that has been linked to the maternal use of Clomid and SSRI antidepressants taken during pregnancy. Babies born with this birth defect have too much fluid in their brain and an abnormally developed cerebellum. Most have severe neurological impairments, which cannot be treated.
Do I Have a Dandy-Walker Syndrome 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 Clomid, an SSRI antidepressant, or other medication during pregnancy, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Dandy-Walker Syndrome lawsuit.
Dandy-Walker Syndrome Overview
Dandy-Walker Syndrome is a birth defect that develops while the baby is in the womb, and is present at birth. It is an abnormal formation of the cerebellum (the area of the brain that controls movement) and the fluid-filled spaces around it. It occurs in about 10% of babies born with hydrocephalus, which is a condition where there is too much fluid in the brain, but it is more severe than hydrocephalus because it also occurs with abnormal development of the cerebellum. Babies with Dandy-Walker Syndrome have an increasing head size due to hydrocephalus.
The cerebellum is the part of the brain in the back, near the spinal cord, which is responsible for voluntary muscle movement, coordination, balance, and posture. The malformation occurs when there are no openings that allow cerebrospinal fluid to move into the space surrounding the brain.
There are four spaces inside the brain (called “ventricles”) which are hollow, and filled with cerebrospinal fluid. Babies with Dandy-Walker Syndrome have an enlargement of the fourth ventricle, severely under-developed middle part of the cerebellum, and cyst formation of a small, hollow section of the brain between the lower cerebellum and skull. There is no way for surgery to repair these malformations.
The most serious impairments associated with Dandy-Walker Syndrome are associated with increasing intracranial pressure. In infants, this isn’t usually a problem, because the skull is still able to grow. It becomes a problem when the child is older and the skull becomes rigid. The intracranial pressure grows and may cause difficulties with balance, mental impairments, vision problems, and more.
Medications linked to Dandy Walker Syndrome
Clomid: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study, which followed women who took Clomid (a fertility medication) in the two months preceding their pregnancy. The study found that Clomid increased a woman’s chance of having a baby with Dandy Walker Syndrome. The findings were published in the journal Human Reproduction.
SSRIs / Antidepressant Drugs: A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that women who took SSRI antidepressant medications before pregnancy and during the first trimester are at an increased risk of having a baby with a serious birth defect. Many of these women are now contacting the Clark Firm LLP for a lawsuit against the drug-makers.
- Paxil, Seroxat (paroxetine)
- Zoloft, Lustral (sertraline)
- Celexa (citalopram)
- Lexapro, Cipralex (escitalopram)
- Symbyax (fluxetine and olanzapine)
- Wellbutrin, Zyban (bupropion)
- Effexor (vanlafaxine)
Signs & Symptoms of Dandy Walker Syndrome
In mild cases, the syndrome may not be noticed when the child is in early infancy, because the skull is soft and able to expand to contain the extra fluid. The most common early symptoms will be:
- Slow motor development
- Progressive enlargement of the skull
In older children, the skull is not able to grow larger to accommodate the extra fluid in the skull. Symptoms will be:
- Increased cranial pressure
- Lack of muscle coordination
- Jerky movements of the eyes
- Increased head circumference
- Bulging at the back of the skull
- Problems with the nerves that control the eyes, face, and neck
- Abnormal breathing patterns
Treatment & Prognosis
Treatment usually involves treating the associated complications, rather than the syndrome itself. A surgeon may be able to drain excess fluid in the brain with a shunt. This relief of intracranial pressure can help control swelling and decrease the chances of mental impairment, especially if the shunt surgery is completed early. The child will need to undergo regular check-ups and may need to have fluid drained from the brain periodically.
The long-term prognosis depends on the severity of the syndrome. Parents are usually most concerned about its effect on their child’s intellectual development. Some children develop normal cognition, and others never develop normal intelligence. The child’s life-span depends on how severe the syndrome is and whether there are any associated malformations or complications. Dandy-Walker Syndrome is often accompanied by other disorders of the central nervous system, including an absence of nerve fibers connecting the two cerebral hemispheres. Defects of the heart, face limbs, fingers, and toes are also common complications.
Do I Have a Dandy-Walker Syndrome Lawsuit?
Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged.
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