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Ventricular Septal Defect

A ventricular septal defect (VSD) describes a congenital (present at birth) defect in which there are one or more holes in the wall (septum) that separates the right and left ventricles of the heart. VSD is one of the most common congenital heart defects, occurring either by itself or with other birth defects.

The septum is designed to separate the low-oxygen (blue) blood on the right side of the heart and the oxygen-rich (red) blood that travels from the left side of the heart to feed the body. When there is a hole in this wall, oxygen-rich blood from the left side of the heart is forced through the defect into the right side every time the heart beats. Then this red blood goes back to the lungs, even though it is already rich in oxygen. Simultaneously, the blue blood cannot get to the lungs to be oxygenated.


Clomid: Use of the fertility drug Clomid by pregnant women is shown to increase a baby’s risk of developing septal heart defects by 5 times, according to the National Birth Defects Prevention Study published in the Human Reproduction journal.

Anti-depressants: Several studies have indicated that babies exposed to certain anti-depressants in utero face increased risk of septal heart defects. Research published in the British Medical Journal and the New England Medical Journal linked maternal use of certain anti-depressants to a more than doubled risk of infants developing a septal heart defect. The anti-depressants linked to this and other birth defects may include:

Effexor, a similar anti-depressant, is also being researched for possible link to an increased risk of ventricular septal defect.

Painkillers: Maternal use of certain opioid painkillers just before or during pregnancy has been linked to a nearly tripled risk of VSD, according to an ongoing study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Opioid painkillers include

  • Hydrocodone
  • Codeine
  • Oxycodone


The treatment and outcome for a VSD ranges greatly. Many babies may have no symptoms, and, for some, the hole will eventually close as the septum continues to grow after birth. Some VSD may be closed with a special device during a cardiac catheterization when surgery is not possible. This catheterization process is a difficult procedure associated with multiple risks. If the hole is large, babies may have symptoms similar to heart failure. Large VSDs require medicine to manage the symptoms until the defect can be repaired surgically. Surgery requires the use of a heart-lung machine, and the surgeon will either patch or stitch closed the hole.

Your Baby’s Rights

If your baby was born with a VSD that may have been caused by exposure to prescription drugs before birth, your family deserves financial compensation. Although no amount of money will change what happened to your baby, compensation will help offset the current and future medical costs, as well as provide for the pain and suffering you and your baby have experienced. Filing a claim will also teach the manufacturers of unsafe medications that it is unacceptable to not warn parents of the risks associated with these drugs, including serious birth defects. Your suit may even prevent other families from suffering as yours has, by forcing the pharmaceutical company to change their drug’s label to warn parents of the potential risks.

Contact Us

You may be eligible for compensation to ease the financial burdens associated with your baby’s injury. Contact us today to set up a free consultation, during which we will listen to your story, answer any questions you may have and discuss your legal rights and options. If you choose us to represent you, we will work with you on a contingency fee basis; this means you pay nothing until we have secured compensation for you, either through a jury verdict or settlement.

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