Genetic Family History Assessment

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The purpose of this article is to familiarize nurses with why, how, when, and where a genetic family history assessment should be used in clinical practice. Pedigrees are diagrams that display the relationsip among family members by using a combination of symbols and lines. They are used to record concisely a complete family history to identify the risk of treansmitting inherited conditions, to aid in clinical diagnosis, and to serve as a reference for social and biologic relationships. A detailed explanation of the standardized pedigree nomenclature that was recommended by the pedigree standardization task force in 1995 is included to illustrate pedigree construction.

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