Coarctation of the aorta (CoA) is a heart defect present at birth characterized by “the narrowing of the major artery (the aorta) that carries blood to the body.”[1]  The American Heart Association states that “This narrowing affects blood flow where the arteries branch out to carry blood along separate vessels to the upper and lower parts of the body.  CoA can cause high blood pressure or heart damage.”[2]

While there may be no symptoms immediately after birth,[3] symptoms may arise within the first week of the child’s life that include, “congestive heart failure or high blood pressure.”[4]

As we can see from the below image, the vessel carrying red (oxygen-rich) blood from the heart is pinched, almost to the extent that blood cannot flow out to the body.

Paxil Lawyer SSRI Lawsuit SSRI Birth Defect Attorney Coarctation of the Aorta - A.D.A.M. 2012
Coarctation of the Aorta

Treating Coarctation of the Aorta

Treatment of Coarctation of the Aorta, when the condition is severe, usually requires surgery.[5]  The American Heart Association writes that though the surgery required is highly invasive, the “surgeon doesn’t have to open the heart to repair the coarctation. It can be fixed in several ways.  One way is for the surgeon to remove the narrowed segment of aorta.  Another option is to sew a patch over the narrowed section using part of the blood vessel to the arm or a graft of synthetic material.”[6]  These options are illustrated below.

Paxil Lawyer SSRI Lawsuit SSRI Birth Defect Attorney Coarctation of the Aorta Surgery 1
Coarctation of the Aorta Surgical Procedure
Paxil Lawyer SSRI Lawsuit SSRI Birth Defect Attorney Coarctation of the Aorta 2
Coarctation of the Aorta Surgical Procedure


In most cases, children that have undergone this surgery successful will grow up to lead normal lives, and will be able to participate in physical activity without restriction.[7]


Coarctation of the Aorta Linked to SSRI Use During Pregnancy

Recently, a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology (Diav-Citrin et al, 2008) has shown that infants born to mothers who used a new type of antidepressant medication during pregnancy called selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are more likely to be born with a range of heart defects.  One of the main findings of the Diav-Citrin piece was a link between Coarctation of the Aorta in newborns and maternal use of Paxil® (paroxetine) during pregnancy.

Though Paxil® has been found to pose so much danger to unborn children, Paxil® warning labels did not include any such information, thus placing thousands of children at risk for serious birth defects without the mother’s knowledge.  As such, many families are currently filing Paxil® birth defect lawsuits, seeking compensation for Paxil®-use related injuries to family members.

If you used Paxil® during pregnancy and your child was born with Coarctation of the Aorta, please do not hesitate to contact us at (855) 452-5529 or by e-mail at for a free, no obligation consultation.  We have the experience, skill, and resources to provide the justice your family deserves.

[1]“Coarctation of the Aorta (CoA)” The American Heart Association. © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc. Available at <> Updated 24 January 2013, Accessed 24 January 2013

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.