Heart Abnormalities: Critical Congenital Heart Defects

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Critical Congenital Heart Defects are abnormalities of the heart structure that are present at birth. These occur because of incomplete or abnormal development of the fetus’ heart. These defects can cause severe mortality within the newborn stage (Goldstein, 2013, p.1). Several are known to be linked to genetic disorders such as Down syndrome and others are thought to be linked to environmental factors that women can be exposed to while pregnant. The cause of most CCHD’s is unknown.
Symptoms of significant heart defects include but are not limited to, rapid breathing, difficulty feeding, and blueness in the lips, excessive sweating, and fatigue. A common feature of many forms of congenital heart disease is hypoxemia.
Newborns with CCHD are susceptible to serious and sudden worsening clinical status, in the first days and weeks of life. Some babies born with a heart defect may appear healthy at first and are sent home with their families before their heart defect is detected. It is estimated that about 300 infants with an unrecognized Critical congenital heart defect (CCHD) are discharged each year from newborn nurseries in the United States. These babies are at risk of having serious complications and often require emergency care. That is why screening and follow-up treatment are so vital. Newborn screening and follow up is seen as a public health role. In order to perform this role, effectively partnerships are required between hospitals, clinical and

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