What Kind of Heart Defects Does Zofran Cause in Babies?

Zofran, an anti-nausea drug that has been used “off-label” for morning sickness, is linked to a 30% increased risk of birth defects and doubled exposure to heart defects. Due to the prevalence of Zofran as an off-label drug, researchers around the world have studied Zofran in several clinical studies in order to evaluate the risk of birth defects in infants born to women using Zofran while pregnant.

The results of these studies show that there are three conclusive heart defects including: ASD – (Atrial Septal Defect),  VSD – (Ventricular Septal Defect), and Heart Murmur, which are directly linked to taking Zofran during pregnancy.

What is Atrial Septal Defect?

Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart. Small atrial septal defects can close on their own during infancy or childhood, while large atrial septal defects can damage the heart and lungs. ASD allows freshly oxygenated blood to flow from the left upper chamber of the heart into the right upper chamber of the heart, mixes with deoxygenated blood, and is then pumped into the lungs. If the ASD is large, the extra blood volume can overfill the lungs and overwork the heart. If this condition is not treated, the right side of the heart eventually enlarges and weakens.

What is Ventricular Septal Defect?

Ventricular Septal Defect is a hole in the wall that separates the heart’s lower chambers and allows blood to pass from the left to right side of the heart. Normally, oxygen-poor (blue) blood returns to the right side from the body, travels to the right ventricle, then is pumped into the lungs where it receives oxygen. Oxygen-rich (red) blood returns to the left side of the heart from the lungs and then passes into the left ventricle, and is pumped out to the body through the aorta.

A heart with VSD allows oxygen-rich blood to pass from the left ventricle, through the opening in the septum, and then mix with oxygen-poor blood. It is the mixing of oxygen rich and poor blood, and the overworking of the heart that pinpoints the condition of the heart defect.

If not treated properly, VSD can lead to lung disease. When extra blood passes through to the pulmonary artery into the lungs, this can cause higher pressure than normal in the blood vessels in the lungs. The lungs are able to cope with the high amount of pressure for awhile, however the blood vessels in the lungs can become diseased by the extra pressure.

What is a Heart Murmur? 

A heart murmur is an abnormal sound during a heartbeat cycle- such as whooshing or swishing- made by turbulent blood in or near the heart. A normal heartbeat makes two sounds, “lubb-dupp”, which are the sounds of your heart valves closing. A heart murmur is any extra sounds besides the normal “lubb-dupp” of the heart.

There are two types of heart murmurs: innocent murmurs and murmurs that can lead to congenital heart defects. Innocent murmurs are harmless and don’t normally need any treatment. The murmur is produced by a normal, healthy heart and can come and go throughout childhood. Usually, it goes away on its own as a child gets older and does not pose any health threat.

Other heart murmurs can indicate a problem with the heart. One out of every 100 babies is born with a congenital heart defect. These infants show signs of a defect as early as the first few days of life. Symptoms of a significant heart defect in newborns may be:

  • rapid breathing
  • difficulty feeding
  • blueness in the lips
  • failure to thrive (unable to take in or retain calories needed to grow)

Keep your newborn safe by staying informed about these different heart defects and knowing the effects of Zofran before exposing your baby to the drug. Although we cannot guarantee any Zofran heart defect lawsuit outcome, we can guarantee that we will use our best efforts and resources to help these children.

If you or someone you know took Zofran and had a baby born with these side effects please contact us today.

Contact us today at 1-800-214-1010.

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