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Chicago Illinois Atrioventricular Septal Defect Lawyer

Atrioventricular Septal Defects

Atrioventricular Septal DefectAn Atrioventricular Septal Defect (AVSD) (also known as Atrioventricular Canal Defect, AV Canal Defect, or Endocardial Cushion Defect) is a congenital birth defect which manifests in holes between the left and right heart chambers with abnormalities of the valves controlling the blood flow between those chambers. As a result, lower oxygen blood levels occur, with abnormal amounts of potentially harmful blood flowing to the lungs. This additional blood flow can result in congestive heart failure due to the extra work the lungs and heart must perform.

A high incidence of AVSD occurs in babies with Down syndrome, so diagnostic tests such as an echocardiogram are advised to confirm whether such a congenital defect exists. Depending on which heart structures have abnormally formed, there are two general AVSD types that may occur:

  • Incomplete or Partial AVSD involves a hole in the ventricular wall near the heart’s center or a hole in the atrial wall. Although a partial AVSD typically has both tricuspid and mitral valves, one of the valves may not completely close, allowing a backwards leakage of blood from ventricle to atrium.
  • Complete AVSD happens when a large central hole in the heart allows blood to flow in between each of the four heart chambers. This hole is located where the walls (septa) that separate the atria (two top chambers) and the ventricles (two bottom chambers) join one another. Instead of two center valves, there is a single center valve instead with flaps (leaflets) that do not close correctly.

Atrioventricular Septal Defects may not be noticed at birth or for years afterwards. Signs that such a condition exists and may be worsening include:

  • Pulmonary Hypertension (type of blood pressure condition)
  • Arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)
  • Congestive Heart Failure (failure of the heart to pump enough oxygen and blood)

Medical Malpractice Claims for Atrioventricular Septal Defects

An AVSD is often the result of a genetic abnormality, although sometimes it may also be the result of outside influences, such as the presence of a disease during pregnancy or medications taken by the mother. Depending on the circumstances, medical negligence may contribute to the injury when a doctor fails to properly manage the mother’s medical condition during pregnancy and harm to the baby results.

But regardless of the cause, and regardless of the type of AVSD involved, babies with such a birth defect generally require surgery. The sooner such a condition is diagnosed; the sooner doctors can determine the best course of treatment. So a doctor may also commit medical malpractice in relation to diagnostic errors as well. Some examples of doctor mistakes that may give rise to an AVSD medical malpractice case are:

  • A failure to diagnose the heart defect during pregnancy;
  • A failure to perform an ultrasound evaluation as part of a routine examination;
  • A failure to properly perform or evaluate the ultrasound;
  • A failure to order follow-up diagnostic testing such as echocardiography when necessary;
  • A failure to properly monitor the pregnancy despite a family history of birth defects or other risk factors;
  • A failure to thoroughly investigate evidence of a heart murmur;
  • Improper prescription of medications such as antidepressants to a pregnant mother;
  • Negligent manufacture, testing, or marketing of drugs by a pharmaceutical company;
  • Failure to promptly refer infant to pediatric cardiologist;
  • Failure to promptly treat the Atrioventricular Septal Defect (AVSD);
  • Failure to recommend or promptly perform surgical repair when necessary.

Contact a Chicago Atrioventricular Septal Defect Attorney at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC

Sometimes a congenital heart defect is the result of genetics. Other times, medications or outside influences contribute to the heart abnormality. But in either case, it is the obligation and responsibility of the OB/GYN or other treating doctor to carefully monitor the pregnancy, watch for warning signs, promptly diagnose any heart defects, and then recommend appropriate treatment. If you believe that your family may have been affected in any way by medical negligence, call us today. For over 25 years, the Chicago birth injury attorneys at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC have been assisting families touched by the negligence of doctors and hospitals. Call us today at (800) 996-4824 for free information about how we can help.

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