Heart Defects

Heart Defects in Infants

Heart defects are generally considered to be the most common type of birth defect, occurring in as many as one out of 150 infants. A heart defect that occurs before birth is called a congenital defect, based on the Latin word “congenitus,” which means “born with.” Heart defects are generally considered to be structural defects, since they occur as a result of the way the heart develops in the womb.

The development of a baby’s heart begins shortly after the baby is conceived. As the heart is developing, a number of things can go wrong as a result of factors including genetics, infection, uterine environment, or parental diet and behavior. In many cases, doctors can’t pinpoint one specific reason for a heart defect to develop, especially if it’s caused by a combination of factors.

Types of Heart Defects

Different heart defects affect infants in different ways, but in general, the problems occur because of the abnormal heart can’t adequately pump blood to the body. Some examples of heart defects that may develop include:

  • Aortic Stenosis: This birth defect is characterized by an aortic valve that is too stiff and narrow, restricting the flow of blood to the heart. In some instances, the aortic valve cannot properly close, causing leakage.
  • Atrial Septal Defect: A hole exists between the heart’s left and right atrium in babies born with this birth defect.
  • Coarctation of the Aorta: Because of a narrow aorta, blood from the baby’s lower body parts has great difficulty accessing the heart in babies born with this heart defect.
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome: This birth defect occurs if the left side of a baby’s heart is underdeveloped, resulting in difficulty moving blood throughout the entire body. This is a critical heart defect that can lead to serious problems during the first days of life.
  • Tetralogy of Fallot: When a baby has multiple heart defects, he or she may be diagnosed with this condition. Four defects occur in babies with this birth defect: a hole between the ventricles; walls in the right chapter that are too thick; blockage between the pulmonary artery and right ventricle; and a main blood vessel that is shifted.

Some heart defects may be diagnosed before or immediately after birth, while others may not present right away. The conditions range in severity and ability to be successfully treated.

Getting Legal Help for Heart Defects

Although any birth defect, including a heart defect, may happen for a variety of reasons, in some cases these defects may be caused or made worse by faulty medical products, defective drugs or negligent medical care. If you or a loved one has been affected by heart defects resulting from a bad medical product or a negligent doctor, contact one of Chaffin Luhana LLP’s experienced birth defect attorneys at 1-888-480-1123 for a free and confidential case review. You may be entitled to compensation, and the lawyers at Chaffin Luhana can help.