November 5, 2013
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AWHONN SmartBrief Special Report:
Congenital heart defects
No birth defect is more common than congenital heart defects, according to the CDC. Almost 1 in 100 births are affected, and mild cases are becoming more prevalent while other types are holding steady. This special report examines recent news and features about congenital heart defects. Please share it with colleagues, and read AWHONN SmartBrief for clinical and professional news for nurses.
Parents' Perspective 
  • "Heart babies" and the mothers who care for them
    Take a look inside the world of "heart moms" -- mothers who know the hardships, worry and joy of raising children with congenital heart defects. While the medical community is gaining more knowledge about CHD, these mothers have learned that they must be their children's best advocates. This article follows the case of Jackson Holbrook and the ups and downs his parents have faced since his birth a little more than a year ago. "He deserves the biggest celebration. He's been through so much, and he just keeps on smiling," said Traci Holbrook, Jackson's mom. Westword (Denver) (10/17)
Evidence-based Approach to CCHD Screening
Masimo SET® pulse oximeters and sensors not only meet the recommended criteria for newborn screening, but were also exclusively used in the two studies that prompted the CCHD Workgroup to recommend newborn screening. Additionally, they were first to receive FDA 510(k) clearance with labeling for CCHD screening. Learn More.
Advances in Treatment 
  • Clinic tracks health of children with congenital heart defects
    Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., has a new cardiac neurodevelopmental clinic to monitor and treat patients suffering from congenital heart defects from infancy to adulthood. The clinic's purpose is to catch problems early, which is vitally important with a condition that remains mysterious on many levels. Treatment teams check for trends and signs among patients in hopes of addressing problems that arise early. WDAF-TV (Kansas City, Mo.) (10/25)
  • Mitochondria may be key to development of hearts
    Researchers say they have gained a better understanding of the causes of congenital heart defects through studying mitochondria, which provide cells the power to function. In a study of lab mice, researchers found that removing two genes for key mitochondria proteins resulted in severely underdeveloped hearts. "These results reverse our understanding of cellular development," said researcher Dr. Gerald W. Dorn II of Washington University. "It's not the nucleus controlling the mitochondria. In this instance, it's the mitochondria controlling nuclear gene expression and doing it in such a manner that it prevents cardiac muscle cells from developing." (10/3)
  • Other News
  • Advocates push for mandatory CHD screenings in Hawaii
    Health officials in Hawaii are pushing to make newborn screenings for congenital heart defects mandatory, joining all but 16 other states. While most major Hawaii hospitals perform the test, some rural ones do not. A bill to require the test failed to pass the Hawaii Legislature, although advocates believe that another bill, whose language is more focused on tests for heart defects, will have a better chance. (Honolulu) (10/4)
  • Other News
Trends and Technology 
  • Phone-based device could track fetal heartbeats
    A low-cost device that combines a mobile phone with an acoustic sensor is planned in an attempt to reduce problem pregnancies in developing countries. The goal of the project by the United Arab Emirates' Khalifa University is to monitor fetal heart sounds for early detection of developing difficulties using signal processing that distinguishes between the faint heartbeats and other bodily sounds. The National (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) (10/18)
  • Assisted reproduction linked to changes in fetal heart structure
    Fetuses conceived via assisted reproduction technology had substantially increased aortic mean intima-media thickness than spontaneously-conceived fetuses, according to a study presented at the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology meeting. Researchers also noted significantly decreased tricuspid ring displacement among ART fetuses. These changes represent a risk factor but not a state of cardiovascular disease, the researchers noted. Family Practice News (10/16)
  • Other News

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Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

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