Spina bifida is a Latin term that means “split spine.” As a medical term, it describes developmental birth defects in which the embryonic neural tube does not fully close and leaves the spinal cord exposed. If the neural tube defect (hole in the neural tube) is large enough, the spinal cord may protrude through the opening between the unfused vertebrae. Spina bifida may range from very mild forms that cause no symptoms at all to severe forms that can cause paralysis and death. Some form of spina bifida occurs in approximately one of 1,000 births. Following cerebral palsy, it is the second most common birth defect that causes major disability. Use of the SSRI antidepressant Zoloft during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of spina bifida.
Spina Bifida Occulta
In its most mild form, spina bifida occulta, the neural tube defect (NTD) is so small that spinal nerves are not involved. As a result, there may be no signs or symptoms. Sometimes, however, there may be visible indications of spina bifida occulta on a newborn’s skin above the defect. These indications may include an abnormal tuft of hair, skin discoloration, or gathering of fat along the spine. Many people with spina bifida occulta are never diagnosed with the condition, unless it is discovered in an X-ray or other imaging test done for some unrelated reason. Because the condition usually causes no problems, it rarely requires any treatment.
A newborn with meningocele may have an abnormal sac protruding from the lower back, signaling a defect in the spine at that point. In this rare form spina bifida, the protective membranes surrounding the spinal cord (meninges) protrude through the vertebral defect. The treatment for this form of NTD may include surgery shortly after birth to remove the meninges. The prognosis typically is very good.
In this most severe form, also called “open spina bifida,” myelomeningocele occurs when the newborn’s spinal canal remains open along several vertebrae down the middle or lower back. It is the form most often associated with the term “spin bifida” and can cause partial or complete paralysis and even death. Neurological damage related to myelomeningocele may result in seizures and affect bladder, bowel, and sexual functions. Children with this form of spina bifida will be more susceptible to dangerous infections due to the tissues and nerves exposed by the defect. Infection and swelling on the brain (meningitis and hydrocephalus) also are possible, though proper treatment will reduce this risk. Orthopedic problems, such as curvature of the spine and deformed feet or legs also may occur. Myelomeningocele may cause mental issues ranging from learning disabilities to depression.
Treatment of myelomeningocele may include variety of surgeries and therapy over an extended period of time. It generally is recommended that surgery is performed soon after birth and therapy is begun as soon as possible after surgery. Because bladder problems often are associated with spina bifida, an evaluation of bladder function by a pediatric urologist also should be performed and appropriate treatment provided.
Depending on the severity of the defect, treatment of various kinds generally will continue throughout the child’s life. After surgery, a range of treatments and therapies may be required. Nerve damage and resultant paralysis may cause the need for a wheelchair, brace, or other medical device. Occupational and physical therapy often are required. Antibiotic treatment often is indicated to help prevent infections. The rapid growth caused by the onset of puberty may create the need for additional surgeries. Care and treatment of spina bifida is a continuing process. The long term outlook for a child with spin bifida can be a lifelong effort to address a variety of disabilities and challenges.
Spina Bifida Zoloft Lawsuit
The use of the SSRI antidepressant drug Zoloft during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of spina bifida and other neural tube defects.
Concerned parents and across the United States are choosing to file claims for Zoloft spina bifida compensation. Zoloft lawsuits for spina bifida damages allege that drug company Pfizer failed to warn of the neural tube defect side effects risks of using Zoloft during pregnancy.
If you or a loved one took Zoloft during pregnancy and your baby has spina bifida, you may have a right to financial compensation. Let us answer all of your Zoloft lawsuit questions and help you recover the compensation you deserve. Find out if you are entitled to a Zoloft spin bifida settlement.
Time limits apply. Contact us now for a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced Zoloft lawsuit attorney. Use the Zoloft attorney contact request form on this page or call us toll-free. 800-845-6913