Arteriovenous Canal and Dextrocardia: A Case Report with Implications for Community-Based Providers

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Congenital heart defects (CHD) are the most common congenital malformation reported in the literature, with a global incidence of eight per every 1,000 live births. In the United States approximately 40,000 infants are born each year with a CHD. Of the infants diagnosed with a CHD, one in every four heart defects are life threatening in origin. Early identification and treatment of congenital heart lesions, beginning with a comprehensive physical assessment after birth, are critical. For infants delivered at community-based hospitals, the importance of the physical assessment, timing of diagnostic strategies, anticipatory planning, and interprofessional collaboration among referring and accepting centers cannot be understated. This article presents a rare case of an infant with arteriovenous canal complicated by dextrocardia. Embryology, pathophysiology, epidemiology, symptomology, cardiac assessment, diagnostics, treatment, and nursing strategies for facilitating transfer of care from community-based hospitals to tertiary medical centers are discussed.

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