Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) – Antidepressant Birth Defect

May 24, 2011

What is Atrial Septal Defect?

Atrial septal defect (ASD) is an irregular hole in the septum, or wall, that divides the left and right atria. It allows oxygen-high blood to flow from the left atrium into the oxygen-low blood of the right atrium. This results in increased blood flow in the right heart. An increased amount of blood may cause enlargement of the right ventricle, the right atrium, and the pulmonary artery. Atrial septal defect (ASD) is a congenital birth defect meaning that it is present at birth.

Minor atrial septal defects may close on their own during infancy or early childhood. Larger and lasting atrial septal defects may eventually damage your lungs and heart. Adults with an undetected atrial septal defect for years may have a shorter life span due to heart failure or high blood pressure. Surgery is typically necessary to repair atrial septal defects in order to prevent complications. One major cause of Atrial septal defect (ASD) among infants is the use of an SSRI such as Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, or Lexapro during all or part of pregnancy.

Symptoms of Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)

Often, babies born with atrial septal defects don’t show signs or symptoms. Among adults, signs or symptoms typically have begun by age 30, but in some cases symptoms may not appear until many years later.

Symptoms of larger or long-lasting atrial septal defects can include:

  • Shortness of breath, especially during exertion
  • Stroke
  • Fatigue
  • Bluish skin color
  • Heart murmur, a whooshing sound that may be heard by a doctor with a stethoscope
  • Swelling of legs, feet or abdomen
  • Heart palpitations or skipped beats
  • Frequent lung infections

Contact your doctor immediately if you observe any of the following symptoms in your child: discoloration of the skin (bluish), easily tiring after activity, swollen legs feet or abdomen, heart palpitations or missed beats, or shortness of breath. These may be symptoms of heart failure.

Causes of Atrial Septal Defect – Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy

Doctors know that heart defects present at birth (congenital heart defects) are a result of errors early in the heart’s development, but it is often hard to determine the exact cause. The use of antidepressants such as Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, Celexa, or Lexapro during all or part of the pregnancy doubles the risk of a congenital heart defect like ASD.

If the atrial septal defect is not treated, the right side of the heart ultimately enlarges and deteriorates. In many cases, the blood pressure in your lungs increases as well, leading to pulmonary hypertension.

Atrial Septal Defect – Antidepressant Lawsuit

If your child was born with Atrial Septal Defect (ASD ) or other birth defects and a SSRI such as Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro, Paxil or Celexa was taken during all or part of the pregnancy, then call for a free SSRI Antidepressant Lawsuit Consultation. You and your child could have a legal right to monetary compensation for damages and injuries. Call 1-800-883-9858 for your free legal consultation.


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