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Hypoxia in the Term Newborn: Part One—Cardiopulmonary Physiology and Assessment

Rohan, Annie J. MSN, RNC, NNP/PNP; Golombek, Sergio G. MD, MPH, FAAP

MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing: March-April 2009 - Volume 34 - Issue 2 - p 106–112
doi: 10.1097/01.NMC.0000347304.70208.eb
feature article

In this first of a three-part series on hypoxia in the term newborn, the emphasis is on cardiopulmonary adaptation of the newborn. This article includes definitions and features of neonatal hypoxia and reviews structural abnormalities of the heart and great vessels, along with pulmonary hypertension. During the transitional phase from intrauterine to extrauterine life, newborn infants require close monitoring in order to recognize and address abnormalities in adaptation. The evaluation of the hypoxic infant is one of the most common problems for the pediatric clinician; although there are several common causes for newborn cyanosis, myriad disorders spanning all organ systems exist as possibilities etiologies. Knowledge of the breadth of feasible diagnoses and a systematic approach to the assessment of these term newborns are essential for accurate diagnosis, treatment, and referral.

MCN is proud to publish this 3-part series on hypoxia in the term newborn. In this first part, the authors tell you what you need to know about cardiopulmonary physiology in order to provide expert care for newborns.

Annie J. Rohan is a Senior Nurse Practitioner, Stony Brook Hospital–Stony Brook, and Jonas Nursing Scholar, Columbia University School of Nursing, PhD Program, New York, NY. She can be reached via e-mail at

Sergio G. Golombek is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Clinical Public Health, New York Medical College, New York, and an Attending Neonatologist, Maria Fareri Children's Hospital of Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, NY.

The authors have disclosed that they have no financial relationships related to this article.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.