Ebstein’s Anomaly (EA) is a congenital heart birth defect, in which an abnormal heart valve does not open properly, allowing blood to flow backward through the heart. EA can lead to congestive heart failure, and may require surgery or heart transplant. Women who took antidepressants, SSRIs, and other medications during pregnancy may have an increased rate of birth defects, including Ebstein’s Anomaly.
Do I Have an Ebstein’s Anomaly 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, Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Codeine, cough syrup, asthma medication, or hypertension medication during pregnancy, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a birth defect lawsuit.
What drugs have been linked to Ebstein’s Anomaly?
SSRI Antidepressant Medication: Several studies have found that women who take Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy (especially Wellbutrin/bupropion) have an increased risk of congenital heart defects. SSRIs are some of the most common types of antidepressant medications, which include the following drugs:
- Paxil, Seroxat (paroxetine)
- Zoloft, Lustral (sertraline)
- Celexa (citalopram)
- Lexapro, Cipralex (escitalopram)
- Symbyax (fluxetine and olanzapine)
- Wellbutrin (bupropion)
- Effexor (vanlafaxine)
Pain Medication / Cough Medicine: A new study in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology found that maternal use of opioids during pregnancy increased the risk of congenital heart defects. Opioid analgesics are drugs used to treat pain. Low doses are also found in some cough medicines.
These medications include:
- Some Cough Medication
Women with asthma who take asthma medications (known as bronchodilators) had an increased risk of having babies born with cardiac malformations.
A study of women who have high blood pressure (hypertension) or took anti-hypertension medication during pregnancy has found an increased risk of several congenital heart defects, including Ebstein’s anomaly.
Ebstein’s Anomaly Overview
Ebstein’s Anomaly (EA) is a birth defect affecting the heart. Specifically, it is a defect of the tricuspid valve, which is the valve between the right lower heart chamber (right ventricle) and the right upper heart chamber (right atrium). In a normal heart, blood flows from the right atrium to the right ventricle through the tricuspid valve. The tricuspid valve is made of three “flaps” that close when the heart pumps, and open when the heart relaxes. Thus, the valve acts as a “one-way-door” to keep blood flowing in only one direction through the heart.
In Ebstein’s Anomaly, the flaps are abnormally developed — two flaps are displaced downward into the pumping chamber, and the third flap is elongated and may be attached to the heart wall. In severe cases, the valve may inhibit blood flow, or leak so much blood backward that it causes congestive heart failure. Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to the body.
EA is a rare birth defect, affecting just one in 10,000 babies. Boys and girls are affected equally, and it is more common in babies of European ancestry. EA is congenital, meaning that it develops while the baby is in the womb, and is present when the baby is born. Like most congenital heart defects, it is not a problem while the baby is in the womb, because it receives oxygenated blood from the mother’s placenta. EA is usually diagnosed shortly after the baby is born, when it shows the first symptoms.
Signs & Symptoms of Ebstein’s Anomaly
“Blue Baby Syndrome” – The most common symptom of a child with Ebstein’s anomaly (EA) is “cyanosis”, characterized by a blue coloring of the skin, lips, or nails. Babies who are born with EA may have severe leakage between the chambers of the heart, causing oxygenated blood to mix with non-oxygenated blood. Low levels of oxygen in the blood produce cyanosis.
Other symptoms may include:
- Failure to grow
- Rapid breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Very fast heartbeat
In some patients, symptoms become worse over time, and may develop into heart failure, heart block, abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), blood clots, and brain abscesses.
Treatment & Prognosis
Treatment for each child will depend on the severity of the anomaly and other individual factors. Medical care may include medications to prevent heart failure, and oxygen support to supplement oxygen levels in the blood. Antibiotic prophylaxis is usually recommended to prevent infective endocarditis.
Complete surgical repair of EA in newborns is usually feasible, with good survival rates. Surgery will usually involve replacement of the tricuspid valve. However, because EA often occurs with other defects (including atrial septal defects and other heart defects), each individual surgery will be different.
In cases where surgery is not appropriate, patients may require cardiac replacement.
Do I Have an Ebstein’s Anomaly Lawsuit?
For a free consultation, please contact Collen A. Clark at The Clark Firm, LLP immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing an Ebstein’s anomaly 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 birth defect lawsuit review.