Atrial Septal Defect (“ASD”) is a hole in the heart which exists at birth. It may not cause symtoms until the child matures. Over time the hole may get larger. The hole prevents the blood from efficiently moving through the heart to provide proper blood flow to the lungs. The patient develops pulmonary hypertension, where the arteries in the lungs become small, the blood pressure increases, and the heart must work harder. The lungs become impaired and lose function. Breathing becomes difficult and supplemental oxygen may be required. Medication can help. However, in the worst cases, the patient may require lung and /or heart transplant.
Early symtoms of ASD are lethargy and shortness of breath. These signs are unusual in young people, who have healthy hearts and lungs. A simple ultrasound, which is non invasive and inexpensive, can determine if the patient has ASD. If diagnosed before severe hypertension, it can be surgically repair by sewing up the hole. If not treated it can lead to pulmonary hypertension.
Weisfuse & Weisfuse LLP represented a woman who was treated by a medical clinic for many years. She frequently complained of lethargy and shortness of breath. The doctors assumed she had asthma and prescribed an inhaler. Her complaints continued, and her condition became progressively worse. Finally, she was referred to a pulmonary specialist who diagnosed the ASD. By this time it was too late to close the hole, and she required supplemental oxygen and medication to breathe. She sued the clinic and the doctors who failed to diagnose her condition. Her case was settled for $3,500,000.