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Birth defects are also called congenital defects or congenital anomalies. Congenital defects are anatomical, structural, functional, or metabolic conditions present at birth that are not within the normal expectations. Congenital anomalies may be further defined in terms of severity, pathogenesis, or pattern, and may be noted immediately at or following birth (McLean, 2005). Anomalies can exist as a single finding or a constellation of findings (syndrome).
One in 33 babies born in the United States has a birth defect (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2014a). Birth defects affect 3% of all pregnancies (CDC, 2014a). Although each of the 4,000 known congenital problems affects only a few individuals, an estimated 150,000 babies are born in the United States each year with a birth defect (KidsHealth, n.d.a). In fact, birth defects are the leading cause of infant mortality (20%) in the United States (CDC, 2014b).
While much about specific causes of certain birth defects is unknown, it is known that they can be genetic, environmental, related to the mother’s health and habits, or multifactorial, meaning that the defects result from a combination of these factors. The causes of many birth defects are unknown (CDC, 2014c) and many babies with birth defects are born to apparently healthy parents. The majority of pregnancies and births are normal, and the number of deaths due to birth defects has decreased significantly in recent years. Many abnormal congenital conditions (anomalies) are being successfully treated in utero and in the immediate postpartum period (NIH, 2014).
This course gives an overview of some of the conditions related to congenital defects that affect the respiratory system. The intent of this course is to provide health professionals with knowledge of these major conditions that will help them to recognize congenital defects, intervene, and teach about possible prevention. The overall goal of this course is to provide a knowledge base for health professionals who care for mothers in prenatal clinics, labor and delivery, or newborn nursery areas. The course will also provide a basic orientation to birth defects affecting the respiratory system for those planning to work with high-risk newborns.
- Describe the developmental stages of the respiratory system.
- Identify the gestational period in which there is the greatest risk for congenital anomalies.
- Identify factors that may affect pulmonary development and function.
- Describe selected congenital anomalies affecting the respiratory system and their potential causes.
- Identify the clinical signs of selected congenital disorders of the respiratory system and their treatment options.
Charlene M. Deuber, DNP, NNP-BC, CPNP, is an advanced practice nurse and nurse manager in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. She is a member of the adjunct clinical faculty of the Thomas Jefferson University School of Nursing’s neonatal nurse practitioner program and at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Nursing in Philadelphia, where she also serves as a lecturer. Dr. Deuber received her bachelor of science degree (summa cum laude) from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where she also earned her master’s degree in nursing and did postgraduate study in the neonatal nurse practitioner program. She went on to earn her doctorate in nursing practice from the School of Nursing at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Dr. Deuber has been the author and co-author of numerous scholarly publications and is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau National Nursing Honor Society.
- Contact hours will be awarded for up to one (1) year from the date the course is ordered, unless otherwise indicated with an expiration date.
- You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion.
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- All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.