Heart Defects in Infants About each year 40,000 babies are born into the world with congenital heart defects

GLOSSARY

  • Pediatrics: a branch of medicine that deals with the development, care, and diseases of babies and children
  • Thoracic: relating to the thorax which is the chest area related to the anatomy of humans and various animals that is between the neck and the abdomen
  • Congenital: a disease or disorder that is inherited but occurs before birth
  • Electrocardiogram: a display of a persons heartbeat by measuring the electrical activity in the heart
  • Echocardiogram: ultrasound test that uses high pitch sounds waves which are sounds that bounces off your heart
  • Malformation: a form that is abnormally formed by the heart
  • Mortality: measure of deaths in a certain population
  • Valproate: medicine that is used to treat seizures and epilepsy

Why do most hospital go above and beyond just to keep their information on mortality rate a secret but others do not?

There are many reasons as to why some hospitals prefer to show their infant mortality rate but they are afraid of how patients and newcomers would view their success if they were to post their information. As a matter of fact, Elizabeth Cohen, a CNN medical correspondent, states, “according to data obtained by CNN from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, among these 107 hospitals, the death rates range from around 1.4% to 12.1%" (Cohen 2). Due to this jump from 1.4 to 12.1 percent there is a huge difference about how much children are saved each year. Given that there are only 107 hospitals willing to give that information. However, in many other cases hospitals do not give this information about mortality rates to parents and families of the infant. Elizabeth Cohen, states, “Kentucky Children's Hospital has gone to great lengths to keep their pediatric heart surgery mortality rates a secret, citing patient privacy. Reporters and the Kentucky attorney general have asked for the mortality data, and the hospital has declined to give it to them. In April, the hospital went to court to keep the mortality rate private" (Cohen 5). Due to this problem many parents do not have insight about what the chances of their infant making it out alive will be causing them to dwell on the idea if their local hospital is a safe place to have their child undergo the procedure.

What factors lead to the heart defect in young infants?

There are many probable causes as to what plays a role in heart defects for newborns. In fact, Bonner County Daily Bee reports that there are medications that are much more likely to increase heart defects such as Thalidomide, which is used for treatment against a skin disease, acne medication, and medication containing valproate, a treatment that helps decrease seizures ("Congenital heart"). Medication seems to be one of the many factors that causes congenital heart disease but there are other factors as well. Sehat, a writer for the Jakarta Post, says, “Infections: If the mother had a viral infection in the first trimester, it may increase the risk of giving birth to a child with a heart defect" (Sehat 4). Congenital heart disease has many names along with the many components as to what leads to the cause of these infants getting a heart defect moments after they've been born. However, in many other cases most of these factors often happen to the unborn child.

How is the brain affected by heart disease?

The brain of the baby is affected through the idea of white matter which is a fatty white substance that is a long neuron in the brain. According to Madeline Vann, a Healthday reporter states “Although the babies in the study, on 41 infants with heart disease had the same amount of white matter as babies without heart defects, the white matter was less mature and therefore at greater risk of injury, due to stressors like reduced blood oxygen levels" (Vann 8). The study that was done on infants with only congenital heart disease showed that the brain had the same white matter which is connected to the nerve cells and overtime they cause the brain to lose functions that become lost. An infant that is born with heart defects and another that is an early baby are both shown the amount of white matter that affects the brain. Meredith Wadman, a writer for science magazine, states, “Researchers have described how the lack of brain oxygen that results from heart malformations might stunt the brains of newborns" (Wadman 1). The number of infants born with heart defects may suffer from brain damage due to the shortage of oxygen that the brain receives. Therefore, due to the heart not providing the infants with enough oxygen the brain is often affected and in return there could be brain damage.

How are heart defects diagnosed?

Heart defects in infants can be determined through many tools. According to the How Are Congenital Heart Defects Diagnosed, “listen to your child's heart and lungs with a stethoscope. Look for signs of a heart defect, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, delayed growth, or signs of heart failure” ("Heart Defects Diagnosed"). By doing these small physical exams doctors will be able to identify this defect earlier before the birth of the baby. Sethuraman Swaminathan, a writer for Miami Herald, states “congenital heart disease is diagnosed using a combination of tests, including chest X-ray, electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG), echocardiogram, cardiac MRI and CT scans. Nearly three-quarters of the complex congenital heart defects are diagnosed prenatally with fetal ultrasound” (Swaminathan 8). Months before the birth of an infant there are tests done such as the ultrasound and through those scans it shows the heart defects that can be detected beforehand. Therefore, by distinguishing the heart defects doctors will use ultrasounds or once the infant is born they will check the child’s lungs and heart so there can be an action done much earlier for surgery.

Does the banned on immigrants affect infants who are in need of heart surgery?

Does the banned on immigrants affect infants who are in need of heart surgery?

It affects infants because they are unable to get help from doctors. According to Becca Heller, director of the international Refugee Assistance Project, “The President’s discriminatory executive order has trapped these vulnerable people in life-threatening conditions.” Infants who are vulnerable were born into a world where they are denied access to the materials that are needed. Given that the ban affects seven countries it’s much more difficult for the infants who are born in those countries to be able to receive treatment and live longer lives. Also, Suzanne Bonamici, an American Politician from Oregon, states “keeping 4-month-old babies out of our country doesn’t make us safer. It puts her life in danger and diminishes the United States in the eyes of the world.” Trump’s policy affects newborns because these infants are put in a serious situation where they need as much care as possible but with this action they do not get the care. Unfortunately, It impacts the infant's future and families.

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