When a defective heart valve is considered medical malpractice
Types of defects
There are three main types of heart valve defects that can occur within the human body. These include the following:
- Stenosis – this occurs when the different parts of a heart valve thicken and eventually stick together. When this happens, a heart valve is not able to open up completely or properly, preventing enough blood from getting to the heart.
- Atresia – this type of heart valve defect occurs when a valve does not have an opening for the blood to properly flow back to the heart.
- Regurgitation – this type of heart valve defect prevents a valve from closing all the way. As a result, blood flows backward into the heart chamber from which it came. One of the most common causes of regurgitation is known as prolapse, a situation that happens when the flaps on a heart valve don’t close right.
In some people, heart valve defects can cause little to no problems. However, in others who turn to a personal injury lawyer in Cook County, one of these defects can result in blood clots, strokes, heart failure and death.
Causes of heart valve problems
Some valve defects can begin before birth while the fetus is developing. However, others can be acquired. For example, if an outside toxin is able to interfere with the development of the heart while a baby is in the womb, the child can be born with a valve defect. One type of toxin that may cause heart valve problems during pregnancy includes a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These medications are known to cause an increase in the risk of birth defects when women take them while they are pregnant.
Other causes of acquired heart valve defects include untreated strep infections, infective endocarditis that results in germs entering the bloodstream and carcinoid syndrome. When the development of a heart valve defect is acquired while a child is still in the womb or after, this medical issue can be considered a form of medical malpractice. Those who live with an acquired heart valve defect may benefit from reaching out to a personal injury lawyer in Cook County to determine if the cause of their heart condition was the result of a medical error.