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Zoloft® and Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a congenital heart defect that affects the left side of the heart. It occurs when the left ventricle, mitral valve, aortic valve and/or the aorta don't develop completely. In many cases, the left ventricle and aorta are much smaller than the right, causing the right parts of the heart to be overworked and to eventually fail.

Zoloft® and Pregnancy: Risk of Heart Defects

Medical studies have shown that certain heart defects are twice as likely to develop when pregnant women take Zoloft® and other SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy. Heart defects form during the first trimester of pregnancy as the heart is developing. In many cases, this occurs before the woman even realizes she is pregnant. If you are taking Zoloft® or another SSRI and are thinking of becoming pregnant, you should speak with your doctor about the potential risk of birth defects such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

What is Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome?

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a congenital birth defect in which the left side of the baby's heart is severely underdeveloped. The left ventricle and the aorta are very small, and the valves are either too small to allow sufficient blood flow or totally closed. The left ventricle isn't strong enough to pump blood to the rest of the body, especially with the other structures also being undersized.

In most cases, the right side of the heart will maintain blood flow to both the lungs and the body for a while, but over time, the extra work will cause the right side to fail.

Treatment and Complications

Any newborn with hypoplastic left heart syndrome will require immediate care. The right side of the heart will be able to pump blood both to the lungs and to the rest of the body for only a short time. Surgery to connect the right and left sides of the heart or the arteries and blood vessels is required for survival.

Following surgery the hypoplastic left heart syndrome survival rate depends on the size and function of the right ventricle. Hypoplastic left heart syndrome statistics show that survival rates continue to rise, though long-term monitoring of the reconstructed heart and heart medications may be necessary. In some cases, heart transplantation will be considered a better option, but finding donors for infants is difficult.

Infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome are at risk of several complications, including:

  • Fluid in the abdomen and/or lungs
  • Heart failure
  • Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias)
  • Stroke
  • Neurological conditions
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Sudden death

You should seek emergency medical attention if your baby's skin or mucous membranes look blue or if he or she begins to eat less or has unusual breathing patterns. These could be signs of serious complications.

If your baby is born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, he or she will likely have other birth defects. Birth defects are serious and can be devastating for the family. Our birth defect lawyers are dedicated to helping infants and their families get the compensation they need to ensure the best medical care possible. To find out if you qualify for a Zoloft® birth defect lawsuit, please contact us today.