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Zoloft® and Ventricular Septal Defects (VSD)

The prescription drug Zoloft® (sertraline hydrochloride) and other drugs in the SSRI class of antidepressants have been linked to serious birth defects including septal heart defects, sometimes called holes in the heart. If you took an antidepressant during pregnancy and your baby developed a septal heart defects, we may be able to help you recover compensatory damages.

Zoloft® Ventricular Septal Defects

Ventricular septal defects involve one or more holes in the lower chambers of the heart, which are called ventricles. Ventricular septal defects allow oxygenated blood to flow from the left ventricle to the right ventricle and mix with the other blood, causing the oxygenated blood to recirculate into the lungs.

The heart is forced to work harder, as both ventricles are forced to pump a higher volume of blood than they normally would. Large ventricular septal defects can lead to heart failure. Treatment will usually involve surgery to close the hole. All septal defects can cause complications and can be life-threatening.

The link between antidepressants and birth defects is not completely understood, but medical studies have found that infants born to mothers who take SSRIs during pregnancy have a greater risk of developing congenital heart defects. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health advisory in 2005 to warn that the use of SSRIs during the first trimester of pregnancy could increase the risk of heart birth defects.

The FDA warning was based on findings from a study that was published in t he New England Journal of Medicine. According to the study, infants whose mothers took Zoloft® during pregnancy had double the risk of heart complications than those who were not exposed.

Other Types of Heart Defects

Ventricular septal defects aren't the only cardiac defects associated with Zoloft® use. According to studies, babies might also be at risk of other heart defects when they are exposed to certain antidepressants. Heart defects occur when the heart of the developing fetus doesn't develop properly, and can range from slight abnormalities to life threatening defects that might require a transplant.

The following are other congenital heart birth defects:

  • Atrial septal defects, which involve a hole in the upper chambers of the heart
  • Coarctation of the aorta, a condition in which the aorta is too narrow
  • Heart valve malformations, including Ebstein's anomaly, pulmonary atresia and pulmonary valve stenosis
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a serious condition that affects the development of the left side of the heart
  • Patent ductus arteriosus , a serious defect in which the heart can't get oxygen
  • Tetralogy of Fallot , involving four heart abnormalities

Zoloft® Heart Defect Lawsuits and You

If your baby was born with a ventricular septal defect or another cardiac birth defect, our Zoloft® attorneys can help you. Septal defects are serious and often require multiple surgeries and a lifetime of care. By filing a Zoloft® birth defect lawsuit, you might be able to recover financial compensation to pay for your baby's medical bills and long term treatment costs.

Compensation might also be given for your pain and suffering.