Neurofibromatosis is a disease caused by a chromosomal defect that can occur spontaneously or be inherited. The disease is grossly disfiguring and carries with it significant psychological sequelae. It is characterized by tumors on nerve sheaths that can arise anywhere in the body. The rate and frequency of occurrence is unpredictable. More than nine different types of neurofibromatosis have been identified, but other than types 1 and 2, they are quite rare. All types of neurofibromatosis persist for a lifetime, so nurses from different backgrounds may encounter such a patient for various reasons. Nursing care should focus not only on the medical issues the patient presents with, but also on the psychosocial needs that may arise.
Questions or comments about this article may be addressed to Catherine Harris, MBA RN CNRN, 2 Linden Ave., #C402, Haddonfield, NJ 08033, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. She is a staff nurse, Neuro ICU, Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience, Philadelphia, PA.
© 2005 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses