Congenital Heart Defects Missed Prenatally and at Birth

Atrial Fibrillation Medical Malpractice lawyers Congenital Heart Defects

Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyer Explains Why a Delay in the Diagnosis of a Congenital Heart Defect can be Serious or Even Fatal

According to John Hopkins Medicine, 40,000 babies are both every year with congenital heart defects. While it may be the most common birth defect, unfortunately the condition can be missed at birth and may not be identified until irreversible heart damage, lung damage, or even death occur. Congenital heart defects could be Oregon medical malpractice.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, examples of congenital heart defects, or CHD include:

  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome 
  • Coarctation of the Aorta
  • Atrioventricular Septal Defect
  • Atrial Septal Defect
  • Pulmonary Atresia
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Tricuspid Atresia
  • Ventricular Septal Defect
  • Single Ventricle
  • Ebstein Anomaly
  • d-Transposition of the Great Arteries
  • Double-outlet of the Right Ventricle
  • Interrupted Aortic Arch
  • Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return
  • Truncus Arteriosus

It does not take a doctor to know that a delay in the diagnosis of a congenital heart defect can be a serious concern with life threatening consequences. Most people know that a heart condition of any type can be quite serious, especially in an infant. Therefore, swift treatment is needed as missing the defect can not only lead to serious lifelong effects, but also can be the difference between life and death. Therefore, if your baby has suffered any type of delay in the diagnosis of a congenital heart defect in Oregon, ask our experienced Portland medical malpractice lawyers at Kuhlman Law how we can help you and your family.

What Causes Congenital Heart Defects?

According to the March of Dimes, causes of congenital heart defects include the following: 

  • Genetic or chromosomal abnormalities (15% of all congenital heart defects)
  • Maternal health conditions (i.e. Lupus, obesity, preexisting diabetes, maternal phenylketonuria (PKU) and Rubella. 
  • Certain medications used by the mother (i.e. ACE inhibitors, Lithium, Thalidomide, Isotretinoin and Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol while pregnant

How are Congenital Heart Defects Diagnosed? 

Congenital heart defects can sometimes be detected on fetal ultrasound before the baby is born. Other times, congenital heart defects are not detected until after birth. Some heart defects can cause a murmur which should be detectable while using a stethoscope. In addition to the use of a stethoscope, the use of a pulse oximeter can detect a low in oxygen saturation or abnormally fast or slow heart rate.  If proper prenatal tests are not performed or tests are not interpreted correctly, congenital heart defects can be missed, leading to lifelong cardiac damage or even death in some cases. If detected early, in most cases congenital heart defects can be treated with surgeries very early in life.  

How are Congenital Heart Defects Treated?

According to the American Heart Association, below is a list of the most commonly used in the treatment of congenital heart defects: 

  • Surgery – The type of surgery is dependent on the type of heart defect the baby has
  • Cardiac Catheterization – A catheter is inserted into a blood vessel and is then guided into the heart or vessels around the heart for repair or for diagnostic purposes
  • Medication therapy – medication therapy is dependent on the defect and is used to help the heart work better. Depending on the drug it may be used to keep the rhythm of the heart normal, remove fluid from the body to lower stress on the heart  (diuretics), drugs to keep the arteries and blood vessels in and around the heart open, and to keep the heart rate or blood pressure normal. These are the most common indications for medication therapy.
  • Observation (if mild) – If there is no need for medication therapy or surgical intervention, a baby may be followed closely by a cardiologist with regular evaluation of his or her cardiac function.
  • Heart transplant – Unfortunately medication therapy and surgery is not always an option so heart transplants are at times indicated.

What are the Possible Complications of Congenital Heart Defects? 

According to the Mayo Clinic, possible causes of congenital heart defects include: 

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Cyanosis
  • Delayed growth and development
  • Stroke
  • Emotional issues in children due to their condition

How can our Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers Help you and your Family?

Sadly the delay in diagnosis of congenital heart defects can have lifelong consequences or can even be the difference of life and death. Immediate diagnosis and intervention either prenatally or at birth can give the baby the best change to live a healthy normal life. If congenital heart defects are not treated it can lead to permanent damage of the heart or lungs, perhaps requiring lifelong medication therapy, or additional surgeries over the course of the babies’ lifetime. 

If you live in Oregon and your baby was the victim of negligence in delayed diagnosing of a congenital heart defect, you may be eligible to be awarded damages. Damages typically come in form of compensation for future lost wages (of the parent and possibly the child later in life), pain and suffering and medical bills amongst many other indications for the awarding of damages. Our Oregon Medical Malpractice lawyers are experienced and knowledgeable in these types of cases and can review your case. 

Call Our Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Oregon After a Delay in the Diagnosis of Breast Cancer Harmed You or Your Family

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form.  We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.

Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton,  Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles,  St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.

We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.

For a free case evaluation


(541) 385-1999 in Bend, Oregon
(503) 479-3646 in Portland, Oregon
(612) 444-3374 in Minnesota

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