Maternal / Newborn Question #7


A infant with Down’s Syndrome is transferred to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) following delivery. During visiting time, the mother states, “Our little one has Down’s and now has a big hole in the middle of her heart.” The nurse will prepare education on which heart condition?


  1. Atrioventricular Septal Defect
    • Rationale:
  2. Pulmonary Atresia
    • Rationale:
  3. Pulmonic Valvar Stenosis
    • Rationale:
  4. Ventricular Septal Defect
    • Rationale:



A atrioventricular canal defect is described as a large hole in the center of the heart. It affects 15-20% of newborns with Down’s Syndrome. The defect is the result of failure of embryonic development of structures that divide right and left atrium and ventricular septums. Option B is incorrect since pulmonary atresia results from development of the pulmonary valve leaflets that prevent them from opening and is also called ‘blue baby syndrome’. Option C is incorrect since pulmonic valvular stenosis causes thickened pulmonary valve leaflets and narrowing from the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery. Option D is also incorrect (although it may seem similar) and presents as an opening (or hole) between the two ventricles. It is one of most common congenital heart defects. While similar to answer A, VSD involves ventricles and Atrioventricular Septal Defect involves both atrial septum and ventricular septum.

Learning Outcomes

Test Taking Tip

Video Rationale