Heart Defects and Fetal Development

Heart defects and fetal development birth defects may be the result of taking prescription drugs during pregnancy and attorneys may be able to help parents with affected children recoup compensation for injuries.

Heart defects occur when a child's heart or blood vessels surrounding the heart fail to develop properly in utero, preventing the heart from functioning normally after birth. Some heart defects inhibit the flow of blood in the heart, some cause blood to flow through the heart in an abnormal pattern, and some affect the heart's rhythm. Regardless of the type of defect, heart malformation side effects are extremely dangerous and can threaten a child's life. The heart is responsible for receiving oxygen-poor blood from tissues and delivering oxygenated blood to the body's vital organs in order to maintain their function. Without a properly functioning heart, some children may struggle with breathing difficulties, or more severe side effects like poor growth and failure to develop. Although the causes of many instances of heart defects are unknown, studies have shown that certain pharmaceutical drugs can interfere with fetal development and cause serious fetal malformations.

Heart Defect Symptoms

Because heart defects often compromise the heart's ability to pump blood properly and deliver adequate oxygen to the rest of the body, these malformations often produce symptoms like:

  • Cyanosis (bluish tint) to the lips, nail beds and tongue
  • Poor appetite or difficulty breathing
  • Abnormal heart murmur
  • Diminished pulse
  • Sweating during feeding
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Failure to thrive

Heart Defect Treatment

The appropriate treatment for heart defects depends largely on the type of defect the child has. In some cases, the child may require medication to help control symptoms like an irregular heartbeat, or to make the heart stronger until the malformation can be repaired. Heart catheterization may be used to determine the details of the heart defect or sometimes even to repair the defect. Some children may require surgery to correct the malformation, which may be performed immediately after birth, during infancy, or even later in life. Some heart defects may repair themselves over time, in which case surgery may not be required at all. However, more than half of infants born with a heart defect require surgery to correct the malformation.

Heart Defect Complications and Prognosis

Most children who receive treatment for a heart defect go on to lead normal lives. In some cases however, severe complications may develop, including:

  • Heart failure
  • Problems with heart valve replacements
  • Clubbing of the fingers and toes
  • Heart murmur
  • Blood clots
  • Slowed growth
  • Problems with the brain and nerves

The outlook for children born with a heart defect varies depending on the type of defect. Minor malformations, such as septal heart defects can be relatively easily treated, while more serious defects like hypoplastic left heart syndrome, are extremely dangerous and will lead to death if left untreated.

Attorneys for Heart Defect and Fetal Development Side Effects

Heart defects are one of the most common types of birth defects and are also the leading cause of birth defect-related death among infants. Unfortunately, heart defects can significantly affect fetal development and can also diminish an individual's quality of life later on. If you or a loved one has suffered from a heart defect and you believe a pharmaceutical drug to be the cause, contact a heart defect attorney to discuss your options for legal recourse. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and medical expenses, which you can collect by filing a heart defect lawsuit against the liable drug company. Too often, victims of pharmaceutical drug-related injuries are taken advantage of during their time of need. With the help of a heart defect lawyer, you can protect your rights and collect the compensation you deserve.

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