Blue Baby Syndrome Research Paper

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1. Information on Congenital Heart Defects More than 32,000 infants (one out of every 125 to 150) are born with heart defects each year in the United States. The defect may be so slight that the baby appears healthy for many years after birth, or so severe that its life is in immediate danger. Heart defects are among the most common birth defects, and are the leading cause of birth defect-related deaths. However, advances in diagnosis and surgical treatment over the past 40 years have led to dramatic increases in survival for children with serious heart defects. Between 1987 and 1997, the death rates from congenital heart defects dropped 23 percent. What is a congenital heart defect? A condition is called congenital when it is present…show more content…
Blue baby syndrome is an environmentally-caused children’s health issue. Blue baby syndrome, or methemoglobinemia, is an illness that arises when an infant’s blood is unable to carry enough oxygen to body cells and tissue. It is caused by a rise in the level of methemoglobin in the blood. Methemoglobin is a non-oxygen-carrying enzyme that is continually produced in the body. It is converted to hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying enzyme in the blood, by a red blood cell enzyme called methemoglobin reductase. Because infants under that age of six months have little methemoglobin reductase in their systems, an excess of methemoglobin, or methemoglobinemia, can be fatal if left untreated. Excessive nitrates in drinking water can adversely affect children’s health, sometimes causing blue baby syndrome. When ingested, these nitrates are converted to nitrite in the digestive system; these nitrites react with the hemoglobin in the blood, forming high amounts of methemoglobin. Since methemoglobin cannot carry oxygen, if enough too much of the enzyme is in the blood, the infant’s tissue and organs may be deprived of oxygen. This will cause him or her to develop a bluish coloring and possibly result in long-term digestive and respiratory…show more content…
Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA): Before birth, a large artery (ductus arteriosus) lets the blood bypass the lungs because the fetus gets its oxygen through the placenta. The ductus normally closes soon after birth so that blood can travel to the lungs and pick up oxygen. If it doesn’t close, the baby may develop heart failure. This problem occurs most frequently in premature babies. Treatment with medicine during the early days of life often can close the ductus. If that doesn't work, surgery is needed. Coarctation of the aorta: Part of the aorta, the large artery that sends blood from the heart to the rest of the body, may be too narrow for the blood to flow evenly. A surgeon can cut away the narrow part and sew the open ends together, replace the constricted section with man-made material, or patch it with part of a blood vessel taken from elsewhere in the body. Sometimes, this narrowed area can be widened by inflating a balloon on the tip of a catheter (tube) inserted through an artery. Heart valve abnormalities: Some babies are born with heart valves that do not close normally or are narrowed or blocked, so blood can’t flow smoothly. Surgeons usually can repair the valves or replace them with man-made ones. Balloons on catheters also are frequently used to fix faulty

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