Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA) is a congenital birth defect of the heart, where the Aorta and the Pulmonary Artery are switched, causing “blue baby syndrome.” Surgery is required to fix this complex, serious abnormality. Women who took SSRIs, antidepressants, or other medications during pregnancy are more likely to have babies with life-threatening birth defects, including Transposition of the Great Arteries.
Do I Have a Transposition of the Great Arteries 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 Transposition of the Great Arteries lawsuit.
What drugs have been linked to Transposition of the Great Arteries?
Always talk to your doctor if you are pregnant and taking any medication or thinking about taking a medication. This includes prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, herbal supplements, and dietary supplements. Do not start or stop any medication without first consulting a doctor. If you are planning a pregnancy, consult your doctor to determine which are necessary and should be continued.
SSRIs / Antidepressant Drugs: Evidence is growing that Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and antidepressant medications may cause birth defects in babies born to women who take these drugs during pregnancy (especially Wellbutrin / bupropion).
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)
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:
- Some Cough Medication
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.
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.
Transposition of the Great Arteries Overview
Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA) is a rare, complex, congenital birth defect (present at birth) affecting a baby’s heart. It usually develops during the first eight weeks of fetal development. In a normal heart, the two major arteries that carry blood away from the heart are the Aorta and the Pulmonary Artery. The heart pumps blood into the lungs through the Pulmonary Artery, where it becomes oxygenated, and then to the rest of the body through the Aorta. In babies born with Transposition of the Great Arteries, the arteries are switched (“transposed”).
Because the Aorta and Pulmonary Artery are switched, oxygen-poor blood is pumped into the body, while oxygen-rich blood is sent back to the lungs. A baby with TGA would not survive very long without other heart defects that allowed some oxygenated blood to mix with non-oxygenated blood — babies with TGA are often born with holes in their heart (ventricular septal defect, atrial septal defect, or a hole in the heart called a Patent Ductus Arteriosus).
Babies with TGA have low oxygen levels in their blood. Even if other heart defects allow mixture of blood, problems will begin to develop, in two ways:
- In a normal heart, the left ventricle is a very strong pumping chamber, because it must pump blood from the heart into the entire body. However, in TGA, this chamber is attached to the lungs. The heart, therefore, forces too much blood into the lungs, causing high blood pressure and damage to the vessels in the lungs.
- In a normal heart, the right ventricle is weaker than the left ventricle, because it only need to pump blood into the lungs. In TGA, this weaker chamber of the heart is tasked with pumping blood to the entire body. It is not strong enough to accomplish this; if the patient does not experience congestive heart failure, the right ventricle will begin to enlarge abnormally.
Signs & Symptoms of Transposition of the Great Arteries
“Blue Baby Syndrome” — Also known as “cyanosis,” this is when the baby’s skin, nails, or lips turn blue due to a lack of oxygenated blood. Symptoms of TGA are often noted in the first few hours of a baby’s life, when the baby is no longer receiving oxygenated blood from the mother’s placenta. As with most congenital heart defects, TGA is not a problem when the baby is in the womb. Sometimes, TGA is not noted until a few days after birth — other birth defects in the heart might allow enough oxygenated blood to mix with non-oxygenated blood.
- Rapid Breathing
- Labored breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Cool, clammy skin
Treatment & Prognosis
A pediatric cardiologist who specializes in congenital heart defects can use several techniques to definitively diagnose Transposition of the Great Arteries. Cyanosis will be the first indication. The physician will probably listen to the baby’s heartbeat, and may hear a “murmur,” indicating an abnormality. A chest X-ray, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, or cardiac catheterization (harmless dye is injected that is visible under an X-ray) will be necessary for a final diagnosis.
Surgical Repair is the only way to cure Transposition of the Great Arteries. The most modern type of surgery is called a “switch,” and literally involves switching the aorta and the pulmonary artery, so that they are attached to the correct chambers of the heart. Other defects are also closed during this surgery.
Long-term outlook for an infant who has surgery to correct Transposition of the Great Arteries is usually good, though the infant will need to be monitored periodically to assess whether heart problems are developing. These may include irregular heart rhythms, leaking heart valves, or narrowing of the arteries.
Do I Have a Transposition of the Great Arteries 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 Transposition of the Great Arteries 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.