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Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) starts as a hole in the wall or septum that divides the heart’s upper chambers. As the child grows, the left chamber forms incorrectly, which in turn affects the development of a number of other structures.
The following may be affected due to hypoplastic left heart syndrome:
- Very small or underdeveloped left ventricle
- Very small or incomplete mitral valves
- Very small or incomplete aortic valve
- Very small or incomplete aorta
- Development of atrial septal defect
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SSRIs and Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
While a number of birth defects have unknown causes, there have been studies linking the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other medications with the development of birth defects like HLHS. These might include medications such as Zoloft, Prozac, and other antidepressants. If the mother is taking any of these medications during pregnancy, there is the possible risk of harm to the baby.
How HLHS Is Treated
When an infant is diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, there are few options for treatment. The size of the hole or gap can vary and itis possible that the defect might fix itself over time and naturally close. In the event that the gap does not close and other major structures are damaged, the child will require surgery. Surgery can have up to three stages which include the Norwood Procedure, the Bi-directional Glenn Shunt Procedure, and the Fontan Procedure.
This series of procedures is performed throughout the beginning of the child’s life and is meant to restore cardiac function, but not cure it. Unfortunately, the child will continue to experience complications throughout his or her lifetime and will require special care. In less severe cases, a physician might pursue treatment through various medications. Some medicines can help lower the baby’s blood pressure and adjust the flow of oxygenated blood to the body while strengthening the heart.
Call our birth defect lawyers today at (888) 367-7160 if you were taking medication during pregnancy and your child was born with HLHS.