Many of the most severe side effects associated with the use of SSRI Antidepressants such as Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram) and Celexa (citalopram) are congenital birth defects, including: Congenital Heart Defects, Congenital Lung Defects, Congenital Abdominal Wall Defects, Congenital Cranio-facial Defects,and other birth defects and malformations affecting various other areas of the child’s anatomy.
According to scientific studies, women who take SSRI Antidepressants such as Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram) and Celexa (citalopram) are at least twice as likely to give birth to children with serious congenital heart defects. A congenital heart defect is a problem with the structure of the heart present at birth. Congenital heart defects are the most common type of major birth defect. A baby’s heart begins to develop shortly after conception and during the first tri-mester. During development, structural defects can occur. These defects can involve the walls of the heart, the valves of the heart and the arteries and veins to and from the heart. Congenital heart defects can disrupt the normal flow of blood through the heart, lungs and body.
Double outlet right ventricle (DORV) is a congenital heart disease in which the aorta rises from the right ventricle (the chamber of the heart that umps blood to the lungs), instead of from the left ventricle (the normal pumpng chamber to the body).
Both the pulmonary artery (which carries oxygen-poor blood to the lungs) and aorta (which carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the body) come from the same pumping chamber. No arteries arise from the left ventricle (the normal pumping chamber to the body).
There are several types of DORV. The difference between types is the location of the VSD compared to the location of the pulmonary artery and aorta. The type of DORV, and the presence or absence of pulmonary valve stenosis, affect the severity of signs and symptoms the baby may have.
Normally, the aorta arises from the left ventricle (the chamber of the heart that usually pumps blood to the body). The pulmonary artery normally arises from the right ventricle. In DORV, both arteries arise from the right ventricle. This is a problem because the right ventricle carries oxygen-poor blood, which the aorta then carries throughout the body. DORV always includes a ventricular septal defect (VSD). Pulmonary valve stenosis or transposition of the great arteries may also be part of the defect.
The presence of a VSD helps the infant with DORV, because oxygen-rich blood from the lungs flows from the left side of the heart, through the VSD opening and into the right chamber, mixing with the oxygen-poor blood. However, the body may still not get enough oxygen even with this mixture, and the heart has to work harder to try to bring more oxygen-rich blood to the body.
In addition, because the pulmonary artery receives blood from both ventricles instead of just the right one, blood pressure in the lungs increases.
Patients with DORV often have other heart abnormalities such as:
•Anomalous coronary arteries
•Coarctation of the aorta
•Mitral valve problems
•Pulmonary valve stenosis
•Right aortic arch
•Transposition of the great arteries
Symptoms of DORV may include:
•Baby tires easily, especially when feeding
•Bluish skin color (the lips may also be blue)
•Clubbing (thickening of the nail beds) on toes and fingers (late sign)
•Failure to gain weight and grow
•Swollen legs or abdomen
Exams and Tests
Signs of DORV may include:
Tests to diagnose DORV include:
•Passing a thin, flexible tube into the heart to measure blood pressure and inject dye for special pictures of the heart and arteries (cardiac catheterization)
•Ultrasound exam of the heart (echocardiogram)
•Using magnets to create images of the heart (MRI)
Treatment requires surgery to close the holes in the heart. Surgery may also be needed to fix other existing problems in the heart.
Several factors determine the type and number of operations the baby may need. They include:
•The type of DORV
•The severity of the defect
•The presence of other problems in the heart
•The child’s overall condition
How well the baby does depends on several factors:
•The size of the VSD
•The size of the pumping chambers
•The location of the aorta and pulmonary artery
•The presence of additional complications (such as coarctation of the aorta and mitral valve problems)
•The baby’s overall health at the time of diagnosis
•Whether irreversible lung damage has occurred
•Congestive heart failure (CHF)
•High blood pressure in the lungs
•Irreversible damage to the lungs due to untreated high blood pressure in the lungs
All children with this congenital heart disease should take antibiotics before dental treatment. This prevents infections around the heart.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if your child seems to tire easily, has trouble breathing, or has bluish skin or lips. You should also consult your health care provider if your baby is not growing or gaining weight.
DORV; Taussig-Bing anomaly; DORV with doubly-committed VSD; DORV with noncommitted VSD; DORV with subaortic VSD
There are distinct differences between an SSRI Antidepressant (Zoloft – sertraline, Paxil – paroxetine, Prozac – fluoxetine, Lexapro – escitalopram and Celexa – citalopram) class action lawsuit and a more typical individual SSRI lawsuit. A SSRI class action lawsuit would be a form of SSRI lawsuit in which a large group of people (plaintiffs) collectively bring a lawsuit to court in the form of a “class action” against the manufacturers of the SSRI antidepressant (defendant). In a class action lawsuit involving personal injury, resulting from defective products such as antidepressant SSRI drugs like Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram) and Celexa (citalopram), all SSRI lawsuit plaintiffs would typically be grouped together into a single SSRI class action lawsuit, regardless of the degree or severity of their birth defect injuries. In this type of SSRI class action lawsuit, plaintiffs with injuries ranging from minor heart murmurs not requiring surgery, all the way to the most severe congenital heart defects, requiring multiple surgeries or a complete heart transplant, would be grouped into one single SSRI class action lawsuit. All plaintiffs in the class would equally share any award or settlement resulting from the SSRI class action lawsuit.
In SSRI antidepressant lawsuits involving catastrophic injury or death, an individual lawsuit, in most cases, is more appropriate and in the plaintiff’s best interest. SSRI antidepressants like Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro and Paxil, have been linked to some of the severe congenital heart defects listed above, including: atrial septal defects (ASD – hole in the heart), ventricular septal defects (VSD – hole in the heart), tetrology of fallot (ToF), hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), transposition of the great arteries (TGA or TOGA), patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR), double outlet right ventricle (DORV), and coarctation of the aorta (CoA). SSRI antidepressant cases such as these are better suited to an individual SSRI antidepressant lawsuit because of the severity and degree of injury to the plaintiff. In an individual SSRI lawsuit, each plaintiff’s case is filed, presented and considered individually, based on its own strength and degree of injury.
In many cases involving SSRI antidepressants like Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil and the serious congenital heart defects related to these SSRI antidepressants, surgery is required. Heart surgery will typically be required when a child is an infant or toddler and then again, potentially multiple times, as the child grows to maturity. In many cases, with surgery and medical care, children may be able to lead mostly normal and productive lives. An individual SSRI lawsuit allows each SSRI victim, their injuries and their future needs to be considered on an individual basis when determining damages, awards and settlement amounts, and not as part of a class action lawsuit.
If you took Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Celexa (citalopram), Lexapro (escitalopram) or any another SSRI antidepressant drug during pregnancy and your child was born with a congenital heart, lung or other birth defect, we encourage you to contact an SSRI Antidepressant Lawsuit Attorney at our law firm immediately. It may be too late to recover from the devastating effects of Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro and Celexa but an experienced pharmaceutical products liability lawyer at the Willis Law Firm can assist you in legal action against the makers of these dangerous antidepressant drugs. You are not alone. Join other birth defect victims and their families in speaking up and fighting for your legal rights.
Please fill out our free online legal evaluation form and we will contact you within 24 hours, or call our offices at 1-800-883-9858 for immediate help. Please keep in mind that certain states have statutes of limitation that limit the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit or seek legal action. Contact our law firm immediately so that we may explain the rights and options available to you and your family.