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Coarctation of the Aorta

Coarctation of the aorta—or aortic coarctation—is a congenital birth defect caused by a narrowing of the aorta, the blood vessel that carries oxygen-enriched blood from the heart to the rest of the body. This narrowing forces the heart to have to work harder in order for blood to travel through the aorta.

Aortic coarctation is part of a class of birth defects known as left ventricular outflow tract obstruction defects, which also includes hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). The condition usually occurs in the area of the ductus arteriosus—a fetal blood vessel that normally closes after birth. Coarctation of the aorta often occurs together with other birth defects, including bicuspid aortic valve, ventricular septal defects, patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), aortic valve stenosis and mitral valve stenosis.

Although narrowing can occur anywhere on the aorta, coarctation is usually found past the vessels that deliver blood to the upper body, but before those that travel to the lower body. As a result, children with coarctation of the aorta often have high blood pressure in the arms and low blood pressure in the legs and ankles. Other symptoms may include paleness, breathing problems, sweating and irritability.

Coarctation of the aorta is a condition that is usually present at birth, although children with milder symptoms may not be diagnosed until later in life. In cases where the aorta is more severely narrowed, a diagnosis is usually made shortly after delivery. Around half of children born with coarctation of the aorta are diagnosed within the first days of life.

In cases where coarctation of the aorta is more severe, surgery may be performed shortly after birth or within a few days thereafter. Medications may also be used in order to stabilize the baby’s condition before surgery.

According to a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, the use of antidepressants such as Zoloft while pregnant may increase a child’s risk of coarctation of the aorta or other heart defects. Many families have filed Zoloft lawsuits after their children were born with birth defects linked to the use of the antidepressant during pregnancy.

If you or a loved one used Zoloft during pregnancy and gave birth to a child with coarctation of the aorta or other heart defects, you may qualify to file a lawsuit. For a free legal consultation, contact the lawyers at Hissey Kientz, LLP by calling toll-free at 1-866-275-4454, or by filling out the free consultation form located on this page.

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