NR 328 Pediatric Nursing Cardiovascular Dysfunction

NR 328 Pediatric Nursing Cardiovascular Dysfunction


Cardiovascular dysfunction in fetal circulation involves the intricate structure of the umbilical cord, ductus arteriosus, foramen oval, and ductus venous. During fetal development, these components play a crucial role in maintaining circulation. However, the low-pressure placenta is detached, and the heart is responsible for circulating blood throughout the body (King-Hoff, 2021).

Cardiac defects can be broadly classified into two categories:

Congenital and acquired. Congenital heart defects are present at birth, while acquired defects can develop after birth due to various factors such as infections, autoimmune responses, environmental influences, or genetic predispositions. Defects must lead to live, affecting approximately 5-8 infants per 1000 live births (CDC, 2020).

NR 328 Pediatric Nursing Cardiovascular Dysfunction

Recognizing cardiac dysfunction in pediatric patients involves identifying specific indicators. Poor feeding and growth, tachypnea (rapid breathing), tachycardia (elevated heart rate), developmental delays, and a family history of cardiac issues are among the signs that may raise suspicions of cardiac dysfunction (Huckleberry, Wilson, & Rodgers, 2019). In contemporary classification systems, congenital heart defects are categorized based on their hemodynamic characteristics, which refer to blood flow within the heart and vessels.

These disorders can be classified into increased pulmonary blood flow, decreased pulmonary blood flow, obstructive defects, or mixed blood flow. Increased pulmonary blood flow occurs when septal defects or the ductus arteriosus fails to close correctly within 2-3 days after birth. On the other hand, decreased pulmonary blood flow defects arise from abnormalities that impede blood flow, such as in Tetralogy of Fallout, a condition characterized by four specific faults that lead to the flow of oxygen-poor blood into the systemic circulation (CDC, 2020).

NR 328 Pediatric Nursing Cardiovascular Dysfunction

Physical blockages within the cardiovascular system cause obstructive defects. Examples include coarctation of the aorta, which involves narrowing the aortic vessel, and stenosis, which refers to constructing a particular area within the heart or blood vessels. Finally, mixed blood flow defects occur when oxygen-poor and oxygen-rich blood mix, leading to a combination of circulation to the lungs and the rest of the body (King-Hoff, 2021).

Understanding the different types of cardiovascular defects is crucial in diagnosing and managing these conditions. Early detection and appropriate interventions are essential in improving outcomes for pediatric patients with cardiac dysfunction. So these defects, healthcare professionals can initiate timely interventions to support optimal cardiovascular function and promote the overall well-being of affected children.

NR 328 Pediatric Nursing Cardiovascular Dysfunction

Exploring the cardiac function and disorders in pediatric patients compared to adults provided a fascinating insight into the unique aspects of pediatric cardiology. While some diseases, like heart failure and endocarditis, can occur in both age groups, specific conditions are more prevalent in children. One such condition is Kawasaki disease, an acute disorder of unknown origin that can lead to severe cardiac complications, including the development of coronary aneurysms if left untreated.

One key concept that I gained a better understanding of was heart murmurs. Previously, I had assumed that all murmurs indicated a diseased or abnormal heart. However, heart murmurs can occur during exertion or increased blood flow in a healthy heart. Murmurs are sounds produced by turbulent blood flow through the heart and do not necessarily indicate underlying pathology or abnormality (NIH, nod). It is a comprehensive health history of the pediatric patient, including prenatal care, to assess any potential risk factors or predisposing conditions. Additionally, it is important not to dismiss any abnormal sounds, such as “innocent” murmurs, as they may warrant further investigation to ensure the child’s cardiac health and well-being.


By recognizing the nuances of pediatric cardiac disorders and understanding the significance of various cardiac sounds, healthcare professionals can provide comprehensive care and appropriate interventions for pediatric patients. It is essential to approach each case diligently, considering the unique aspects of pediatric cardiology and the potential long-term implications on the child’s health.


CDC. (2020, November 17). Congenital Heart Defects – Facts about Tetralogy of Fallout. Retrieved January 23, 2021, from

CDC. (2020, November 17). What are Congenital Heart Defects? Retrieved January 23, 2021, from

Huckleberry, M. J., Wilson, D., & Rodgers, C. C. (2019). Wong’s nursing care of infants and children. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier. King-Hoff, G. (2021). The Child with Hematologic or Immunologic Dysfunction. Chamberlain University. NIH. (nod). Heart Murmur. Retrieved January 23, 2021, from

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