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Tricuspid Atresia in Chicago

The tricuspid valve is the portion of the heart that controls the flow of blood from the upper right chamber (atrium) to the lower right chamber (ventricle). Tricuspid atresia is a congenital birth defect which results in a valve that does not form at all - instead, solid tissue blocks the opening, so the blood is unable to travel from the right atrium to the corresponding right ventricle, and on to the lungs to retrieve oxygen. This leaves blood needing to find another path to get around the abnormally formed tricuspid valve. Accordingly, most babies born with tricuspid atresia also have a hole known as an atrial septal defect that allows this flow of blood.

This congenital defect is considered a critical defect that, depending on the presence of other birth defects and their severity, often requires immediate surgery. Although the following surgeries will not completely cure the condition, they can restore more normal heart functionality:

  • Banding: If other heart defects are also present, sometimes there is not enough blood going to the body and too much going to the lungs. This procedure involves a band being placed around an artery to limit the volume going to the lungs.
  • Septostomy: Performed early in life, this surgery enlarges or creates an atrial septal defect to allow more blood rich with oxygen to mix with oxygen-poor blood.
  • Shunt Procedure: This surgery creates a bypass (known as a shunt) from the aorta to the pulmonary artery to increase blood flow to the lungs.
  • Fontan Procedure: Usually performed around age two, this surgery connects the inferior vena cava and the main pulmonary artery to the heart.
  • Bidirectional Glenn Procedure: This surgery connects the superior vena cava and the main pulmonary artery to the heart.

Medical Malpractice Claims for Tricuspid Atresia Heart Defects

Like many birth defects, congenital heart defects are often genetic in nature. But this is not always the case. Some outside influences, such as drugs or certain medicines prescribed during pregnancy, have been strongly linked to such abnormalities. If a doctor negligently prescribed certain drugs for a pregnant mother, it may be medical malpractice, and a claim for damages may be appropriate. If the defect is linked to a medication, such as an antidepressant, a product liability lawsuit against the drug manufacturer may be appropriate as well.

In other circumstances, the heart abnormality itself may not be the result of doctor negligence, but the way that it was handled by the obstetrician or hospital may have been negligent. For instance, it is highly recommended that all pregnant women undergo an ultrasound not only to check on progress, but to look for birth defects, including tricuspid atresia and other heart problems. If an ultrasound is not performed or performed improperly, then the mother and doctor will not learn of the abnormality.

This may constitute medical malpractice when a heart defect is diagnosed late or never diagnosed at all. Why? Because the early diagnosis of fetal heart defects is the key to effective and proper treatment later. When an abnormality is found, the medical team can begin to discuss treatment options and plan for the newborn to be seen immediately by a pediatric cardiologist for an evaluation. The longer it takes to recognize the defect and the longer surgery (if necessary) is delayed, the higher the chances that complications will arise.

Contact a Chicago Tricuspid Atresia Birth Injury Attorney

When you believe the medical negligence of a doctor or hospital has contributed to an original birth defect or complicated the medical condition of a patient in any way, the legal team at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC offers experienced legal help. Millions of dollars have been collected for our clients and there’s never a fee unless we’re successful. You don’t even have to be sure that negligence occurred to call us. Just call and we’ll be glad to help you determine whether medical malpractice played a part. Contact our Chicago birth injury lawyers at (800) 996-4824.

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