Atrial Septal Defect

What do you do if you are a doctor faced with a patient who complains of symptoms and for which there is no approved medication? If you were like some doctors, you may resort to prescribing a medication “off-label”; in other words, you find a medication that treats the symptoms and prescribe it even if the medication was not intended for a person like your particular patient. This, at least, is what many doctors did for pregnant women who complained of morning sickness symptoms like nausea and vomiting. Because there had been no medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnant women, many doctors prescribed the drug Zofran to them. Zofran, a powerful anti-nausea and anti-vomiting medication, was originally intended to treat nausea and vomiting in surgery and chemotherapy patients. Unfortunately, when used off-label by pregnant women, these women’s newborns could develop heart problems, including atrial septal defects.

Is an Atrial Septal Defect Dangerous?

An atrial septal defect (ASD) is literally a “hole in the heart,” an opening in the interior walls of the heart. Unlike a ventricular septal defect (which affects the lower chambers of the heart), an ASD affects the upper chambers of the heart. Atrial septal defects are just one type of congenital heart defects, or birth defects that affect the heart.

Sometimes an ASD can be rather small, and symptoms may not appear for years. But an ASD that does not heal on its own early in the child’s life needs to be repaired so as to help prevent damage to the heart and lungs, high blood pressure, and other complications.

A child with any of the following symptoms may have a large, more severe ASD that requires medical intervention:

  • Poor appetite;
  • Poor growth;
  • Fatigues or tires easily;
  • Experiences shortness of breath easily; and/or
  • Frequent lung problems and infections (like pneumonia).

If left untreated, a large or severe ASD can cause problems later in life such as:

  • Atrial arrhythmia or abnormal heart rhythm;
  • Problems with how the heart pumps blood;
  • Increased risk for strokes; and
  • Pulmonary hypertension.

Is Zofran to Blame for My Child’s ASD?

You need to have your specific case reviewed by an experienced Zofran birth defects attorney to determine if Zofran was to blame for your child’s ASD. Atrial septal defects can occur as a result of other causes; however, if you took Zofran while pregnant, your newborn is at an increased risk of birth defects like ASD. If Zofran did cause your child to develop an ASD, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, treatment costs, and time missed from work, for example.

We are accepting Zofran birth defects and ASD cases and all cases we accept are taken on a contingency-fee basis. This means that you will not need to pay any upfront attorney’s fees or litigation costs – we get paid only if you recover compensation. Contact us at 1-800-883-9858 for a free case evaluation.