Following its success as an aid in the treatment of nausea caused by chemotherapy, Zofran was irresponsibly marketed by GlaxoSmithKline for the treatment of morning sickness with disastrous results. Studies have shown a definitive link between the use of Zofran in the first trimester of pregnancies and the development of severe defects and deformities in the fetus.
This is most commonly associated with heart defects that result in serious and often lifelong conditions in the children born with the defects. Congenital heart defects in children affected by Zofran use further highlight the need to hold pharmaceutical companies to higher standards and penalize them more severely when they choose to ignore the safety of their patients while pursuing greater profits.
Heart Defects Linked to Zofran
Zofran has been shown to cause deformities and malformations in unborn children and the most prevalent deformities linked to the medications are related to the formation of the heart. The resulting conditions render affected children unable to live the same quality of life enjoyed by their peers and can be severe enough to threaten or shorten their lives. The most common heart defects that have been linked to Zofran include the following.
- Atrial Septal Defects— this condition is the result of a hole in the valves located in the upper part of the heart and causes the heart to work harder because it is working against itself. One side of the heart contains oxygen rich blood which is destined to reach the rest of the body while the other side contains blood that has been depleted of oxygen and must reach the lungs to be replenished. The holes in the upper part of the heart associated with atrial septal defects cause blood to flow between these two chambers. Both the heart and lungs are forced to work harder in order to compensate and continue to circulate blood to the right places.
- Ventricular Septal Defects— the difference between atrial and ventricular septal defects is the location of the hole in the heart. Ventricular septal defects are located in the lower part of the heart, which is responsible for regulating the flow of blood to the rest of the body. The inefficiency of the heart in circulating the blood lowers blood oxygen levels and places strain on the heart, circulatory system and organs that depend on the consistent flow of oxygen.
- Atrioventricular Septal Defects— these defects are often the result of a hole between one of the upper and lower valves. This results in an irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing and eventual heart failure. Atrioventricular septal defects combine the worst symptoms of atrial and ventricular defects because both the atrium (the upper heart) and the ventricle (the lower heart) are affected.
- Aortic Valve Stenosis— the aortic valve opens and closes each time the heart beats and in those with this condition, the valve does not function as it should. The failure of the valve to open or close when required can cause elevated blood pressure, internal bleeding inside of the heart and damage to major blood vessels.
Treatment of Congenital Heart Defects
There are several common treatment options for congenital heart defects and the plan best suited for each patient will be dependent upon the defect itself and the child’s response to other forms of treatment. In some cases, the child will be required to take medications throughout his or her lifetime and may have no need for additional treatment but in other instances the holes in the heart will need to be closed or repaired.
This can be done through a catheter procedure in which a tube is inserted through a vein in the groin in order to deliver a device into the affected valve to seal it or may require open heart surgery in which the surgeon physically stitches the hole shut. In the very worst case scenario, a child may require a heart transplant if no other option is viable or successful.
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If you were subscribed Zofran during your pregnancy and your child was injured as a result, contact us today to learn more about your rights as a patient and a parent. After reviewing your case during a free consultation, our Zofran birth defect attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can answer any questions you may have about your legal options and how best to pursue compensation for the payment of your child’s medical bills and treatment. Should we be unable to assist you in collecting compensation, our services will be free of charge.