Pulmonary Atresia is a serious congenital birth defect of the heart, in which the pulmonary valve fails to open, preventing blood from flowing properly through the heart. Babies born with this heart problem need surgery very early in life. New research has found that mothers who took antidepressants, SSRIs, and other medications during pregnancy were more than twice as likely to have a baby with a severe, life-threatening heart defect, such as Pulmonary Atresia. The Pulmonary Atresia lawyers at The Clark Firm LLP can help.
Do I Have a Pulmonary Atresia 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, or other medication during pregnancy, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Pulmonary Atresia lawsuit.
Pulmonary Atresia Overview
Pulmonary atresia (PA) is a congenital birth defect of the heart, when the pulmonary valve does not open, preventing the heart from pumping blood into the lungs. This defect develops when a baby is in the womb, during the first 8 weeks of life, and affects about one out of every 10,000 live-births.
The pulmonary valve is the valve between the lower-right chamber of the heart and the artery that carries oxygen-poor blood to the lungs, where it becomes re-oxygenated. The pulmonary valve normally have three flaps that only allow blood to flow in one direction through the heart. In a baby with PA, these flaps do not open.
Before the baby is born, PA is not a problem, because the baby receives oxygenated blood from the mother’s placenta. Because an unborn baby does not need to use its lungs to breathe, blood normally bypasses the lungs through a hole in the heart that normally shuts within a few hours after birth.
Treatment of PA will typically involve a surgery to keep this hole open until further surgery can repair or replace the defective heart valve.
Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Wellbutrin, Symbyax, Lexapro, Effexor, SSRIs, and antidepressants linked to Pulmonary Atresia
Do not start or stop taking any medication without first consulting a doctor, especially if you are taking antidepressants. If you are pregnant or considering a pregnancy, you should consult a physician about what medications are necessary to continue during pregnancy — some may cause birth defects. Talk to a doctor about all prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, herbal supplements, and dietary supplements.
SSRIs / Antidepressant Drugs: Pregnant women who take Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and antidepressants may be twice as likely to have a baby with a serious congenital heart defect, such as pulmonary atresia.
SSRIs and antidepressants include the following prescription medications:
- Paxil, Seroxat (paroxetine)
- Zoloft, Lustral (sertraline)
- Celexa (citalopram)
- Lexapro, Cipralex (escitalopram)
- Symbyax (fluxetine and olanzapine)
- Wellbutrin, Zyban (bupropion)
- Effexor (vanlafaxine)
Signs & Symptoms of Pulmonary Atresia
Symptoms will be noticed within a baby’s first day of life. Pulmonary Atresia belongs to a group of heart defects that cause “Blue Baby Syndrome”, which is when the baby’s skin, nails, and lips turn blue because the heart-lung system is not able to provide the baby’s body with enough oxygen it needs to survive. Most babies turn blue during the transition from womb to self-sustaining life, but babies with PA will remain blue until the heart defect is diagnosed and treated.
When the baby’s doctor listens to its heart with a stethoscope, he or she will listen for a “murmur” that indicates any abnormality in the way blood is flowing through the heart. Further imaging tests will be needed to definitively diagnose the issue, including a chest X-ray, echocardiogram, or electrocardiogram.
Other symptoms may include:
- rapid breathing
- difficulty breathing
- pale, cool, or clammy skin
Treatment & Prognosis
The recommended treatment will be determined by a pediatric cardiologist, based on the severity of the pulmonary atresia and other individual factors. The child will be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), placed on oxygen, and given intravenous medications to keep the heart and lungs functioning efficiently.
The child may undergo the following tests:
- Chest x-ray
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Heart catheterization
- Pulse oximetry – shows the amount of oxygen in the blood
Treatment may include:
- Balloon valvotomy: This is usually the first step in treating Pulmonary Atresia. A neonatal cardiac surgeon will insert a catheter (a flexible tube) with a balloon in the tip, through the child’s large artery in the groin, and guide it toward the heart. When the catheter-balloon is in the pulmonary valve, the surgeon inflates the balloon. Sometimes a similar technique, called a balloon septostomy, is used to further open a hole in the heart (the “formaen ovale”) that is normally present at birth, but usually closes soon after birth. By keeping this hole open, the doctor can improve the proportion of oxygenated blood that the baby receives until a more permanent surgery can be performed.
- Cardiac surgery may be necessary during the first two weeks of the baby’s life, depending on the severity of the pulmonary atresia and the effectiveness of the balloon valvotomy. Extreme underdevelopment of the right side of the heart is often seen along with Pulmonary Atresia, and in these cases, a complex series of cardiac surgeries known as the Fontan procedure.
Do I Have a Pulmonary Atresia 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 Pulmonary Atresia 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 Pulmonary Atresia lawsuit review.