Aortic Stenosis with Depakote Use
Medical terms always make the essentially simple sound incredibly complex. Take for example congenital aortic stenosis, which may or may not be caused by the mother taking Depakote during the first trimester of pregnancy. Aortic stenosis simply means the valve is narrow on one end, causing some of the blood that should be going out into the aorta (the main blood vessel hat distributes blood and oxygen to the body) goes back into the heart (backflow). Some babies are born with one, two, or four tissue flaps called leaflets that prevent backflow instead of the normal three, and this can make the aortic valve less efficient in keeping the blood from going back in. So in simple terms, the heart has a leaky valve.
Congenital aortic stenosis will not always make life difficult for the baby at once, unless it is really severe. In such cases, the baby may die within two years from congestive heart failure. In many cases, the complications associated with having blood leak back into the heart may not manifest until adulthood, and the only way to fix it is to replace the valve. Symptoms of aortic stenosis include fainting spells, shortness of breath when physically active, and chest pains. Aortic stenosis is detectable in asymptomatic patients during a routine physical examination.
The link between maternal ingestion of Depakote and congenital aortic stenosis has not been established in any study. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, Depakote is associated with many birth defects. Depakote (valproate) is known to interfere with the development of the fetus by blocking some actions of the fetal DNA. It has been more closely associated with anencephaly, where the fetus is born with an underdeveloped skull and brain. In some cases, it is speculated that its effects may extend beyond the first trimester, as in hydranencephaly, where the developed cerebral hemispheres of the brain are deprived of oxygen. This results in cell death and eventual resorption. It does not take much to imagine that such systemic interference may lead to cardiac malformations as well.
If you or your child was born with aortic stenosis, and Depakote is in the picture, you may have a case against the drug’s manufacturer.