Circulatory Case Study 6
Baby Stephen was a full-term baby and at first glance he appeared healthy. In the hours following his birth, however, the nurses caring for him noticed that he didnÕt "pink up" as babies should. Rather, his skin had a bluish cast, a condition known as cyanosis, caused by inadequate oxygenation of his blood. Normal babies do appear somewhat blue at the time of birth due to the normal conditions of fetal circulation. However, as they begin to breathe air and are exposed to its richer supply of oxygen, their skin develops the normal coloration.
One of the nurses from the neonatal nursery listened to his heart and lung sounds with a stethoscope. His lung sounds were normal, but his heart sounds revealed a significant murmur. The attending physician ordered echocardiography to identify the location and extent of any abnormalities of StephenÕs heart. He was diagnosed with a congenital disorder known as Tetralogy of Fallot, a well-known malformation of the heart which prevents blood from being adequately oxygenated in the lungs. It involves four disorders: the aorta displaced to the right so that it receives some blood from both the right and left ventricles, a ventricular septal defect, pulmonary stenosis, and hypertrophy of the right ventricle. Fortunately, surgery can be done to correct much of the problem associated with this disorder, and can prolong the life expectancy of children with it.
Adapted from: Human Physiology-from cells to systems by Lauralee Sherwood
Thomson/Brooks-Cole Publ. 5th edition 2004