Coarctation of the Aorta (CoA)
Coarctation of the aorta (CoA) is a narrowing of the large blood vessel that delivers oxygenated blood to the body. It causes the heart to pump harder to force blood through the narrow part of the aorta. It is a heart defect that is believed to be associated with use of drugs like Zoloft® (sertraline Hcl) during pregnancy. Coarctation of the aorta is often accompanied by several other heart birth defects, including stenosis, a bicuspid aortic valve and a ventricular septal defect.
Symptoms and Complications
Coarctation of the aorta may range from mild to severe, and may not be detected until adulthood, depending on how narrowed the aorta is. If there is a severe narrowing, the baby will exhibit symptoms shortly after the birth.
The symptoms of coarctation of the aorta can include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Heavy sweating
- Pale skin
In the more severe cases, there are several complications which can occur without surgery, which include aneurysms, infections in the heart (endocarditis), high blood pressure, stroke and heart failure.
Treatment and Diagnosis
If your baby is showing symptoms of a heart birth defect, there are several tests that your doctor can perform to determine if your child suffers from coarctation of the aorta, including:
- Echocardiogram - uses sounds waves to produce a video image, allowing the doctor to evaluate the structure of the heart, showing the size of the aortic opening and measuring the blood flowing through it.
- Cardiac Catheterization - inserting a small tube through a blood vessel into the heart that can deploy contrast dye to show structures of the heart, and can also measure blood pressure and oxygen levels.
- EKG (Electrocardiogram) - a recording of the heart's electrical activity, showing abnormal rhythms and detecting heart muscle thickening which can be caused by coarctation of the aorta.
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) - uses magnets and radio waves to produce images of the heart and the aorta.
- CT Scan- computer aided X-rays which produces images of cross sections of the heart and the aorta.
In cases where it is determined that surgery is necessary, options depend on the size, location and severity of the obstruction. Surgery can be performed through the ribs, or may be open-heart, which requires a heart-lung machine to keep oxygenated blood circulating during the procedure. Surgery can repair the valve by removing tissue that obstructs blood flow, or by implanting a stent to keep the aorta open.
Talk to a Zoloft® (Sertraline) Birth Defect Lawyer
If your baby is diagnosed with coarctation of the aorta and/or another heart defect and you used Zoloft® during your pregnancy, you might be eligible for financial compensation. For more information, contact our Zoloft® birth defect lawyers today. We provide free case reviews and will give you an honest assessment of your case. Call today to schedule you consultation today.