Zoloft & Septal Defects
Septal birth defects are a type of congenital heart condition that has been associated with Zoloft, an anti-anxiety medication. According to a 2007 British Medical Journal study, women who took Zoloft during their first trimester of pregnancy were twice as likely to give birth to a baby with a septal birth defect.
The study also found that the number of septal birth defects found in babies increased from 0.5 percent to 0.9 percent in mothers who began taking Zoloft or other anti-anxiety medications during their first three months of pregnancy.
Atrial Septal Defect
An atrial septal defect is a condition that creates an opening in the wall of the chambers of the heart, or atria. Symptoms may vary depending on the location and size of the defect.
Common symptoms include:
- Lack of appetite
- Shortness of breath
- Infections and difficulties with the lungs
- Lack of proper growth
If the defect is not treated or diagnosed after birth, complications may increase or appear as the child develops. Symptoms such as abnormal heart rhythm and difficulty pumping blood may occur.
Ventricular Septal Defect
A ventricular septal defect also involves a hole or opening in the heart but is located in the lower chambers of the heart, or ventricles. This defect allows blood from the left ventricle to flow through the hole and into the right ventricle, which creates a noise known as a heart murmur.
Symptoms associated with ventricular septal defects include:
- Rapid heart beat
- Tire easily
- Lack of appetite
- Bluish tint to fingernails, lips or skin
- Fast breathing
Although doctors may recognize the symptoms of a septal birth defect through a physical examination, this condition may not be detected for several years.
Septal Defect Complications
Children or adults diagnosed with septal defects may be at risk for developing the following complications:
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Heart failure
- Atrial fibrillation
- Pulmonary over-circulation
Patients with a small defect may not require treatment. The opening in the heart may be closed through surgical procedures if symptoms occur or if the defect is large.