Today, I found an article published in a 2013 edition of Pediatric Research by S.E. Haskell et al. (a team from University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine) titled “Sertraline exposure leads to small left heart syndrome in adult mice.” that further elucidates the connection between gestational Zoloft exposure and adverse birth outcomes.

Haskell writes, “Sertraline [(Zoloft)], a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), is the most commonly prescribed therapy for maternal depression. Epidemiologic studies have linked SSRI exposure with decreased fetal growth, altered autonomic regulation, and cardiac malformations. We hypothesized that SSRI exposure decreases left-ventricular (LV) volumes and increases adult sympathetic nervous system activation, resulting in increased adult heart rates.” (emphasis added)

In non-scientific terms, the researchers were saying that studies looking back over groups that used Zoloft in pregnancy showed a link to birth defects, and that the present study’s hypothesis was that Zoloft exposure inhibits full development of the left ventricle of the heart.  This makes the heart work harder to circulate blood, resulting in a higher heart rate.

Results of this experiment showed that “Sertraline-exposed mice had smaller LV internal diameters in diastole (control 4.0 ± 0.1 mm, SSRI 3.7 ± 0.1 mm, P < 0.05), decreased stroke volumes (control 46 ± 2.6 µl, SSRI 37 ± 2.3 µl, P < 0.05), higher heart rates (control 530 ± 13 beats per minute (bpm), SSRI 567 ± 6 bpm, P <0.05), and increased urinary excretion of noradrenaline (control 174 ± 29.4 ng/ml, SSRI 276 ± 35.1 ng/ml, P < 0.05). These changes were associated with increased cerebral serotonin transporter (5-HTT) expression.”

As such, the team concluded that “Neonatal sertraline exposure causes long-term changes in cardiac morphology and physiology.” (emphasis added)

Because so many women have used Zoloft and other SSRIs during pregnancy unaware of the risk for heart defects, a number of Zoloft® birth defects lawsuits have been filed.  If you or a loved one used Zoloft and gave birth to a child with a congenital malformation or who had perinatal complications, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation.  For a free, no-obligation case consultation, contact our team of Zoloft® birth defects lawyers at the information provided below.  We have the experience, resources, and skills required to win the justice you deserve.  Call today and see how we can help.

(855) 452 – 5529

Our SSRI Birth Defects Lawsuit Information page is a great place to start if you have any questions about SSRIs and Birth Defects.