PPHN Causes & Risks | Paxil & SSRI’s, Pregnancy/Birth Complications and Malpractice

PPHN can be caused by several newborn conditions and illnesses that affect the lungs. Fetal stress during pregnancy caused by health conditions of the mother increase the risk of the development of PPHN. Complications during labor and delivery also have been associated with PPHN. The cause of PPHN in a newborn that otherwise is healthy may be unknown.

Paxil and other SSRI antidepressants used during pregnancy may cause PPHN

PPHN/SSRI research published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) suggests that the use of SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy may cause Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn. The study found that when a pregnant woman takes an SSRI antidepressant during the second half of pregnancy (after the 20th week), there is a 600% increased risk that her newborn will develop PPHN. SSRI antidepressants include Paxil, Prozac, Celexa, Symbyax and Zoloft.

In November 2006, the FDA issued a Drug Safety Alert in response to the PPHN/SSRI study:

[The NEJM] study found that infants born to women who had taken SSRIs after the 20th week of pregnancy experienced a sixfold increase in the risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN)…FDA is seeking more information about the possible risk of PPHN in infants born to mothers who took antidepressants during pregnancy. In the meantime, FDA has asked the manufacturers of all SSRIs to add the potential risk of PPHN to their prescribing information.

If you took Paxil or another SSRI antidepressant while you were pregnant, and your newborn was diagnosed with PPHN, you and your baby may be entitled to collect money damages. Contact us right away for a free, no obligation attorney consultation. Let us help you and your child recover the compensation you deserve. Submit the contact form on the right or call us at 800-845-6913.

Pregnancy complications that may cause PPHN

PPHN may be caused by fetal stress associated with various pregnancy complications related to the medical condition of the mother. Maternal health problems that may cause PPHN include diabetes, anemia and high blood pressure. Post-term labor and delivery (after 40 weeks) also may increase the risk a newborn will have PPHN.

Labor and delivery events and illnesses that may cause PPHN

Several complications that may occur during labor and delivery may cause diseases of the pulmonary parenchyma (the air sacs and tissues within the lung) associated with Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn. Also known as secondary PPHN or appropriate PPHN, these complications prevent oxygen from getting into the alveoli of the lungs, the air sacs at the end of the airways where in which oxygen passes into the blood. This condition is called alveolar hypoxia and may be the result of:

  • Meconium Aspiration Syndrome the baby inhales the meconium—its first stool—prior to or shortly after birth
  • Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome RDS of the Newborn or Hyaline Membrane Disease
  • Birth asphyxia loss of oxygen to the fetus during delivery
  • Pneumonia
  • Infection
  • Hypoglycemia low blood sugar
  • Tadhypnea of the Newborn rapid breathing prevents air from getting into the alveoli in the lung
  • Amniotic fluid leak
  • Low amniotic fluid also is called Oligohydramnios
  • Abnormal lung development as a result of congenital diaphragmatic hernia

Medical malpractice causes of PPHN

The term “medical malpractice” refers to negligent acts or omissions on the part of a doctor or other health care provider in which care falls below accepted standards and injury or death is caused as a result. In some cases, a newborn’s development of PPHN may be a sign that medical malpractice has occurred during labor and delivery or shortly after birth. The following are examples of medical malpractice causes of Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn:

  • Failure to diagnose and/or provide timely, effective antibiotic treatment of an infection of the mother
  • Failure to diagnose and/or provide timely, effective antibiotic treatment of an infection of the newborn
  • Failure to prevent delivery/birth asphyxia (lack of oxygen to the baby during labor and delivery)
  • Unnecessary C-Section (cesarean section) deliveries may result in an unreasonably high risk of PPHN

Medical malpractice also may be related to the diagnosis and treatment of PPHN. The failure to diagnose and treat Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn in a timely manner is medical malpractice and can result in permanent injury or death.

If your baby has been diagnosed with Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn, you probably have many questions. We are here to help you get the answers you need. Please contact us today and let us show you how we can help your family. Submit the contact form on the right or call us at 800-845-6913.