A birth defect recently found to be associated with maternal use of SSRI drugs during pregnancy,[1] aortic stenosis is characterized by the aortic valve failing to open fully, decreasing blood flow from the heart[2] through the aorta, “the main artery carrying blood out of the heart.”[3]  Specifically, aortic stenosis has been found to be connected maternal use of fluoxetine (Prozac®) by Diav-Citrin et al. through a study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology titled “Paroxetine and fluoxetine in pregnancy: a prospective, multicentre, controlled, observational study”.

PubMed Health, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, states that “as the aortic valve becomes more narrow, the left ventricle has to increase pressure to pump blood out through the valve. … As the pressure continues to rise, blood may back up into the lungs.  Severe forms of aortic stenosis prevent enough blood from reaching the brain and the rest of the body.”[4]

Zoloft Lawyer SSRI Lawsuit SSRI Birth Defect Attorney Aortic Stenosis - ADAM 2012
Aortic Stenosis

Symptoms of Aortic Stenosis

  • Breathlessness with activity
  • Chest pain, angina-type
  • Crushing, squeezing, pressure, tightness
  • Pain increases with exercise, is relieved with rest
  • Pain is felt under the chest bone but may move to other areas, most often the left side of the chest
  • Faintingweakness, or dizziness with activity
  • Sensation of feeling the heart beat (palpitations)
  • In infants and children, symptoms include:
  • Becoming easily tired with exertion (in mild cases)
  • Failure to gain weight
  • Poor feeding
  • Serious breathing problems that develop within days or weeks of birth (in severe cases)
  • Children with mild or moderate aortic stenosis may get worse as they get older. They also run the risk of developing a heart infection (bacterial endocarditis).”[5]

Though monitoring by a physician and medication together are usually sufficient for treating aortic stenosis, a replacement valve is sometimes required surgery is sometimes required to allow sufficient blood to flow from the heart.[6]  And though “stenosis can be cured with surgery”[7] surgery is no guarantee of long-term health: “After surgery, there is a risk for irregular heart rhythms, which can cause sudden death, and blood clots, which can cause a stroke.”[8]

Possible complications of aortic stenosis are stated to be:

  • “Angina (chest pain)
  • Arrhythmias
  • Endocarditis
  • Fainting (syncope)
  • Left-sided heart failure
  • Left ventricular hypertrophy (heart wall thickening) caused by the extra work of pushing blood through the narrowed valve”[9]

As a result of aortic stenosis having being linked to Prozac® use during pregnancy, Prozac® lawsuits are currently being filed to seek compensation for families whose loved ones have been victims of these unintended Prozac® side-effects.  If you used Prozac or any other antidepressant during pregnancy and your child was born with aortic stenosis, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team at (855) 452-5529 or by e-mail at justinian@dangerousdrugs.us for a free consultation.  We can provide the help you deserve.

[1] Diav-Citrin, O. et al. (2008) “Paroxetine and fluoxetine in pregnancy: a prospective, multicentre, controlled, observational study” British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology Vol. 66, No. 5; pp. 695-705.

[2] “Aortic Stenosis – PubMed Health” PubMed Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine © 2012 A.D.A.M., Inc. available at <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001230/> accessed 21 January 2013

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.