A majority of studies found that the heart defects associated with Paxil are septal defects in both the atrium and ventricle. Septums are walls in the heart that divide the right and left side. The left side of the heart is used to pump oxygenated blood throughout the body while the right side pumps blood to the lungs to become oxygenated. With this defect, the heart walls contain holes and do not separate the two different types of blood. This leads to the heart pumping blood to the body that is not oxygenated and pumping blood to the lungs which has already been oxygenated. The heart will subsequently have to work harder, causing high blood pressure and enlargement of the heart. Over time, there can also be damage to the blood vessel walls. These defects can range from medically insignificant to very severe depending on the size of the holes in the heart.
Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension
Also known as persistent fetal circulation, this defect affects the newborn’s lungs and blood flow. After birth, the newborn’s blood circulation dramatically changes, due to the new need for breathing on its own. If this defect is present, the newborn’s circulatory system will revert back to how it operated as a fetus and bypass the lungs in its distribution of blood. As a consequence, vital organs may fail from lack of highly oxygenated blood.
An abdominal defect that could result due to the use of Paxil is omphalocele. Omphalocele is present when a newborn’s intestine or other abdominal organs protrude from the navel after birth.
Craniosynostosis is a defect that causes one or more sutures on a newborn’s head to close earlier than normal. This can lead to an abnormally shaped head in newborn children.
Clubfoot is a condition at birth where an infant’s feet are turned inward and downward. Treatment of this disease usually involves turning the foot and placing it in a cast.
Neural tube birth defects are those of the brain and spinal cord. Spina bifida is one of the most common neural tube defects in which the fetal spinal column never completely closes during the first month of gestation. As a result, nerve damage, and potentially leg paralysis, is a common symptom. Ultimately, death can also be associated with neural tube defects.