A Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) is a birth defect where there are holes in the wall between the right and left chambers of the heart. Several studies have linked a mother’s use of SSRIs, antidepressants, pain medications, Depakote, Depakene, and other medications during pregnancy to several serious, life-threatening birth defects of the heart, including VSD.
Do I Have a Ventricular Septal Defect Lawsuit? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping people who 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, or asthma 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 Ventricular Septal Defect?
SSRIs and Antidepressants
- Paxil, Seroxat (paroxetine)
- Zoloft, Lustral (sertraline)
- Celexa (citalopram)
- Lexapro, Cipralex (escitalopram)
- Symbyax (fluxetine and olanzapine)
- Wellbutrin, Zyban (bupropion)
- Effexor (vanlafaxine)
Anti-Seizure Medications – These medications are often prescribed to prevent seizures, manic-depressive disorders, migraines, and other off-label uses (usually psychiatric conditions). These medications include:
- Depakote CP
- Depakote ER
Pain Medication / Cough Medicine
The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology recently published a study performed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which found that maternal use of opioids increased the risk of congenital heart defects, such as Ventricular Septal Defects. Opioid analgesics are pain medications — and small amounts of opiates also found in some cough medicines. These medications include:
- Some Cough Medication
Asthma Medications: A CDC study found that mothers who take asthma medications (known as bronchodilators) had an increased risk of having babies born with cardiac malformations, such as Ventricular Septal Defect.
Ventricular Septal Defect Overview
A Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), commonly known as “hole in the heart syndrome” is a congenital heart defect, meaning that it is present at birth. It is one of the most common birth defects. A VSD forms before a baby is born, when the baby’s heart is developing. As the heart grows, a wall (or “septum”) develops to separate the chambers of the heart. If the wall does not form completely, a hole will remain.
There are four major types of Ventricular Septal Defects:
- Type I – Conoventricular Ventricular Septal Defect: This is a hole where the heart wall should attach just below the pulmonary and aortic valves.
- Type II – Perimembranous Ventricular Septal Defect: This is a hole in the upper section of the ventricular septum.
- Type III – Inlet Ventricular Septal Defect: This is a hole in the heart wall near the tricuspid and mitral valves.
- Type IV – Muscular Ventricular Septal Defect: This is a hole in the lower part of the wall. Also the most common type of VSD.
Signs & Symptoms of Ventricular Septal Defect
Though Ventricular Septal Defect is one of the most common birth defects, cases are usually mild, and children often show no symptoms until they are a few years old. A VSD is usually diagnosed by a physician performing a physical examination, when they use a stethoscope to listen to the child’s heart and lungs. The physician may hear a “murmur,” indicating an abnormality. Chest X-rays or an echocardiogram can also help a physician diagnose VSD.
In all of these four cases of VSD, the hole in the heart allows blood to flow into the right chamber of the heart, where it is pumped to the lungs. Because too much blood is being pumped into the lungs, the blood vessels in the lungs may experience very high blood pressure. Over time, this can damage the blood vessels in the lungs. The right side of the heart will also have to work harder to pump the excess blood. In severe cases, this added work can lead to heart failure.
Symptoms of VSD may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Fast breathing
- Hard breathing
- Failure to gain weight
- Fast heart rate
- Sweating while feeding
- Frequent respiratory infections
Treatment & Prognosis
In mild cases, treatment will not be necessary. As the baby grows, the hole will usually close on its own before the child enters school. A pediatric cardiologist should monitor the child to ensure the hole closes, and also ensure there are no signs of heart failure.
For moderate to severe cases of VSD, surgery is usually recommended. Types of surgery will depend on the severity of each case and other individual factors. The doctor might recommend a catheterization technique (the least invasive surgical procedure) where an incision is made in the groin and a tube is inserted up into the heart with a device to close the VSD. The doctor might also recommend an open-heart surgery to restore normal blood flow. Excessive postoperative bleeding is rare. Length of hospital stay averages five to seven days.
Without surgery, possible complications may include:
- Heart failure
- Infective endocarditis (bacterial infection of the heart)
- Aortic insufficiency (leaking of the valve that separates the left ventricle from the aorta)
- Damage to the electrical conduction system of the heart during surgery (causing arrhythmias)
- Delayed growth and development (failure to thrive in infancy)
- Pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs) leading to failure of the right side of the heart
Do I Have an Ventricular Septal Defect 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 Ventricular Septal Defect lawsuit.
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.