Zoloft Birth Defect

What is a Zoloft Birth Defect?

A Zoloft birth defect can take many forms.  Though heart problems are most common, other physical abnormalities have also been reported.  Lawsuits alleging birth defects are increasing in number as more victims come forward.

PPHN: Common Zoloft Birth Defect

One of the most common problems associated with Zoloft use during pregnancy is Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn, or PPHN. This condition results when blood flow to the lungs is restricted, resulting in increased blood pressure for a prolonged period of time. PPHN is a serious medical condition that can cause chest pain, blue lips and skin, shortness of breath and an irregular heartbeat. Infants diagnosed with PPHN are often treated with intubation and mechanical ventilation. Though chances of survival with treatment remain favorable, 10-20 percent of PPHN babies do not survive.

Zoloft Heart Defects

Several types of heart defects may result from Zoloft use. This type of Zoloft birth defect may be a relatively mild problem that corrects itself over time, or one that requires extensive medical treatment – including surgery – to correct. Some of the most common types of heart defects related to Zoloft use during pregnancy include:

  • Septal Defects-  Septal defects refer to holes between the chambers of the heart. Atrial septal defects (ASD) affect the upper chambers of the heart, while ventricular septal defects (VSD) affect the lower chambers. The defect can lead to fatigue, shortness of breath and lack of appetite. In milder cases, the hole may close without intervention, but severe conditions may require surgery. A study published in the British Journal of Medicine in 2009 shows that use of Zoloft during pregnancy can double a baby’s risk of developing an atrial septal defect.
  • Hypoplastic Heart Syndrome-  This birth defect can occur on either side of the heart and involves a chamber of the heart not developing correctly. This is a serious heart defect that can be life-threatening for a newborn and often requires a heart transplant to effectively treat. In addition to numerous surgeries required while the child is still very young, adults must often return for additional procedures in their 20s and 30s.

Other bases for Zoloft lawsuit

Other congenital defects that have been seen with mothers who used Zoloft during pregnancy include:

  • Cleft lip and cleft palate
  • Clubfoot
  • Craniosynostosis (skull defect)
  • Omphalocele (abdominal abnormality)

These conditions may require surgery while the child is very young, and may require ongoing medical care. Parents with children who are diagnosed with a Zoloft birth defect may consider filing suit in an effort to gain some measure of compensation for their child’s suffering as well as mounting medical bills.