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Spina Bifida

Central laconic arrangement imperfections grasp a dispose of assumptions upshoting from abnormitys of the neural tube during embryonic product.


  • Spina bifida is sepatrounce of a assemblage of extraction imperfections named neural tube imperfections.
  • Caused by a imperfection in the neural arch generally in the lumbosacral clime, spina bifida is a demand of the subsequent laminae of the vertebrae to hinder; this libertys an gap through which the spinal meninges and spinal length may thrust-forward.


Spina bifida can be classified into three:
Types of Spina Bifida. Image:
  • Spina bifida occulta. A jagged imperfection that take-places outside mild tissue entanglement is named spina bifida occulta.
  • Spina bifida delay meningocele. When sepatrounce of the spinal meninges thrust-forwards through the jagged imperfection and contrives a cystic sac, the term is termed spina bifida delay meningocele.
  • Spina bifida delay myelomeningocele. In spina bifida delay myelomeningocele, tnear is a convexity of the spinal length and the meninges, delay rediscerption roots embedded in the bastion of the cyst.


Neural tube imperfections are the upshot of a teratogenic regularity that principles failed blank wall and exceptional differentiation of the embryonic neural tube.
  • During prenatal product, neuroectoderm thickens into the neural mess which folds into a neural fluting by the interval somites tally.
  • The fluting deepens to behove the neural tube, and dorsal disincorpotrounce begins accessiblely, extending cephalad and caudally, delay the cephalad pole fusing at the 25th day.
  • The ventricle behoves penetrable at the 6th to 8th week of gestation but this does not produce normally in resigneds delay spina bifida.

Statistics and Incidences

The affair of spina bifida in the United States and internationally are estimated in the forthcoming:
  • The impact of spina bifida has been estimated at 1-2 circumstances per 1000 population, delay assured populations having a significantly material impact fixed on genetic prejudice.
  • Neural tube imperfections are the relieve most sordid fashion of extraction imperfection forthcoming inherent hardihood imperfections, and myelomeningocele is the most sordid contrive of neural tube imperfection.
  • In the United States, approximately 1, 500 infants are born delay myelomeningocele each year.
  • Birth impact of the distemper was reputed to be 4.4-4.6 circumstances per 10 000 speed extractions from 1983-1990.
  • Rates varied by clime, delay the impact substance eminent on the East Coast than on the West Coast and the primary trounces take-placering in Appalachia.
  • The trounce of myelomeningocele and other neural tube imperfections has declined spent the advanced 20th seniority.
  • The medium worldwide impact of spina bifida is 1 circumstance per 1000 extractions, but notable geographic variations take-place.
  • Neural tube imperfections take-establish at frequencies (per 10, 000 extractions) ranging from 0.9 in Canada and 0.7 in accessible France to 7.7 in the United Arab Emirates and 11.7 in South America.
  • The primary trounces of spina bifida are ground in separates of the British Isles, chiefly Ireland and Wales, wnear 3-4 circumstances of myelomeningocele per 1000 population keep been reputed.
  • The reputed balanceall impact of myelomeningocele in the British Isles is 2-3.5 circumstances per 1000 speed extractions.
  • In France, Norway, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Japan, a low operation is reputed, substance orderly 0.1-0.6 circumstances per 1000 speed extractions.
  • According to the CDC, the operation of spina bifida in the United States is eminent in the innocent and Hispanic populations (2 and 1.96, respectively, per 10, 000 speed extractions) than in the ebon population (1.74 per 10, 000 speed extractions).
  • Data from declare and national surveillance arrangements from 1983-1990 ground the extraction operation trounce of myelomeningocele to be subordinately eminent in females than in males (1.2:1).


The etiology in most circumstances of spina bifida is multifactorial, involving genetic, racial, and environmental elements, in which alimentation, separateicularly folic ardent intake, is key.
  • Low folic ardent intake. Research betrays foadvanced can refer the impact of neural tube imperfections by encircling 70% and can too subside the injustice of these imperfections when they take-place.
  • Genetics. If a dame gives extraction to a baby delay spina bifida, she has a eminent-than-normal destroy of having another baby delay spina bifida too (encircling 5% destroy).
  • Certain medications. Some medications, such as some for treating epilepsy or bipolar assumption keep been associated delay a eminent destroy of giving extraction to babies delay inherent imperfections, such as spina bifida.
  • Diabetes. Women delay diabetes are balance slight to keep a baby delay spina bifida, compared to other females.
  • Obesity. Obese women, those whose BMI (whole substance apostacy) is 30 or balance keep a eminent destroy of having a baby delay spina bifida. The eminent the dame’s BMI is balance 30, the eminent the destroy.

Clinical Manifestations

Clinical manifestations may variegate depending on the fashion of spina bifida.
  • Paralysis. If the gap take-places at the top of the spine, the resigned’s legs are balance slight to be wholly unsightly, and tnear conquer be other problems delay move elsewnear in the whole.
  • Cognitive symptoms. Problems take-placering in the neural tube keep a indirect misappropriatety on brain product; the main sepatrounce of the brain (cortex), specially the frontal sepatrounce does not clear rightly, superfluous to some perceptive problems.
  • Arnold-Chiari abnormity. Tnear may too be Fashion 2 Arnold-Chiari abnormity, an exceptional brain product involving the cerebellum – this may interest the resigned’s discourse regularitying and tangible coordination skills.
  • Birthmark. Tnear may be a trivial extractionmark, dimple or knot of hair on the peel wnear the spinal imperfection is.

Assessment and Diagnostic Findings

Assessment and laboratory findings of a resigned delay spina bifida may demonstration the forthcoming:
  • AFP levels. Elevated maternal alpha fetoprotein levels in the maternal seruma nd the amniotic clear betrays the presumption of CNS exceptionalities.
  • Ultrasonography. Ultrasonographic probation of the fetus may demonstration an peccable neural tube.
  • Clinical probation. Distinction of spina bifida is made from clinical notice and probation.
  • Other imaging studies. Additional evaluation of the imperfection may grasp magnetic jar imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and myelography.

Surgical Management

Many specialists are concerned in the tenor of these newborns, specially in the circumstance of myelomeningocele.
  • Surgery. Surgery is required to hinder the known imperfection but may not be executed forthwith, depending on the surgeon’s determination.
  • Prenatal surgery. In this proficiency — which takes establish anteriorly the 26th week of pregnancy — surgeons imperil a fruitful dowager’s uterus surgically, known the uterus and retrieve the baby’s spinal length.
  • Ongoing heed. Babies delay myelomeningocele may too set-on-foot exercises that conquer qualify their legs for walking delay braces or crutches when they’re older.
  • Cesarean extraction. Cesarean extraction may be sepatrounce of the tenor for spina bifida; manifold babies delay myelomeningocele contribute to be in a feet-first (breech) pose.

Nursing Management

Highly skilled nursing heed is essential in all aspects of the newborn‘s heed.

Nursing Assessment

A sequence newborn probation is influenceed delay pith on neurologic worthlessness.
  • Physical probation. When collecting epoch during the probation, perceive-keep the move and counterkeep-adeal-out to stimuli of the inferior extremities; heedfully estimate the source periphery and perpend the fontanelles.
  • Assessment of cognizance respecting the imperfection. Determine the origin’s cognizance and intellect of the imperfection, as courteous as their comstanding of the extraction of a newborn delay such earnest problems.

Nursing Diagnoses

Based on the toll grounds, the material nursing diagnoses are:

Nursing Heed Planning and Goals

The material goals for the resigned are to:
  • Prevent taint.
  • Maintain peel individual-mindedness.
  • Prevent trauma connected to disappearance.
  • Increase origin coping skills, advice encircling the term, and subsistence.

Nursing Interventions

News that the newborn offshoot has a term such as spina bifida can naturally principle the origin to impress grief, wound, informership, fear and seriousness, nevertheless, promotes are tnear to succor the origin vie and comprehend the imperfection the offshoot has.
  • Prevent taint. Monitor the newborn’s inseparable signs, neurologic signs, and influence frequently; bring prophylactic antibiotic as ordered; raise out sequence aseptic technique; cbalance the sac delay a unproductive dressing moistened in a genial unproductive discerption and shift it integral 2 hours; the dressings may be secreteed delay a flexible shieldive secreteing.
  • Promote peel individual-mindedness. Placing a shieldive screen among the anus and the sac may thwart defilement delay fecal symbolical, and diapering is not desirable delay a low imperfection.
  • Prevent contractures of inferior extremities. Newborns delay spina bifida frequently keep talipes equinovarus (clubfoot) and inherent hip dysplasia (dismemberment of the hips); if tnear is missing of tumult in the inferior limbs beprinciple of the imperfection influence dispose-of-tumult exercises to thwart contractures; pose the newborn so that the hips are abducted and the feet are in a indifferent pose; substanceage the knees and other jagged prominences delay lotion constantly, then pad them, and shield them from irritation.
  • Proper poseing of the newborn. Maintain the newborn in a prone pose so that no constraining is establishd on the sac; forthcoming surgery, live this poseing until the surgical footing is courteous experienced.
  • Promote origin coping. Be specially perceptive to their wants and emotions; promote origin members to pointed their impressings and emotions as knownly as mitigated; stipulate seclusion as wanted for the origin to sadden contemporaneously balance their missing; promote the origin members to cuddle and touch the newborn using mismismisspend precautions for the insurance of the imperfection.
  • Provide origin information. Give origin members counsel encircling the imperfection and promote them to debate their concerns and ask questions; stipulate counsel encircling the newborn’s confer-upon declare, the contemplated surgery, and follow-up heed; counsel shall be stipulated in trivial segments to facilitate comprehension; forthcoming the surgery, instruct the origin to restrain the newborn’s source, neck, and chest subordinately eminent in one workman during feeding; too instruct them that blandishment the newborn’s cheeks succors stimuadvanced sucking.


Expected outcomes from the resigned grasp:
  • Prevented taint.
  • Maintained peel individual-mindedness.
  • Prevented trauma connected to disappearance.
  • Increased origin coping skills, advice encircling the term, and subsistence.

Documentation Guidelines

Documentation for a resigned delay spina bifida may grasp:
  • Individual destroy elements including new-fangled or exoteric antibiotic therapy.
  • Signs and symptoms of transmitted regularity.
  • Characteristic of lesion or term.
  • Causative and contributing elements.
  • Client’s/caregiver’s intellect of keep-aparticular destroys and insurance concerns.
  • Current and spent coping influences, moving counterkeep-adeal-out to standing and stressors, subsistence arrangements conducive.
  • Plan of heed.
  • Teaching intent.
  • Responses to interventions, information, and actions executed.
  • Attainment or proficiency towards desired outcomes.
  • Modifications to intent of heed.
  • Discharge wants, referrals made, and who is chargeable on for actions to be enthralled.

Practice Quiz: Spina Bifida

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Text Mode: All questions and tallys are dedicated on a individual page for lection and tallying at your own tread. Be knowing to pounce a pen and tract to transcribe down your tallys. 1. Spina bifida is one of the mitigated neural tube imperfections that can take-establish during coming embryological product. Which of the forthcoming definitions most precisely describes meningocele? A. Exhaustive pitfall of spinal length and meninges. B. Herniation of spinal length and meninges into a sac. C. Sac contriveation containing meninges and spinal clear. D. Spinal length tumor containing rediscerption roots. 1. Answer: C. Sac contriveation containing meninges and spinal clear.
  • C: Meningocele is a sac contriveation containing meninges and cerebrospinal clear (CSF).
  • A: Meningocele doesn’t entangle exhaustive pitfall of the spinal length and meninges; this is a substanceive imperfection that’s contradictory delay earnestness.
  • B: Myelomeningocele is a herniation of the spinal length, meninges, and CSF into a sac that thrust-forwards through a imperfection in the vertebral arch.
  • D: Protuberance contriveation is not associated delay this imperfection.
2. The dowager of Gian, a preschooler delay spina bifida tells the nurse that her daughter sneezes and gets a precipitate when at-liberty delay brightly colored balloons, and that she new-fangledly had an allergic reaction forthcoming eating kiwifruit and bananas. The promote would distrust that the offshoot may keep an allergy to: A. Bananas B. Latex C. Kiwifruit D. Color dyes 2. Tally B. Latex.
  • B: Effect delay spina bifida frequently clear an allergy to advancedx and shouldn’t be imperild to it.
  • A & C: If a offshoot is perceptive to bananas, kiwifruit, and chestnuts, then she’s slight to be allergic to advancedx.
  • D: Some offshootren are allergic to dyes in foods and other products but dyes aren’t a element in a latex allergy.
3. Promote Marianne is caring for an infant delay spina bifida. Which technique is most material in recognizing mitigated hydrocephalus? A. Measuring source periphery. B. Obtaining skull X-ray. C. Performing a lumbar terebrate. D. Magnetic jar imaging (MRI). 3. Tally A. Measuring source periphery.
  • A: Measuring source periphery is the most material toll technique for recognizing mitigated hydrocephalus, and is a key sepatrounce of sequence infant screening.
  • B & D: Skull X-rays and MRI may be used to strengthen the distinction.
  • C: A lumbar terebscold isn’t misappropriate.
4. A fruitful client, age 32, asks the promote why her master has recommended a serum alpha fetoprotein. The promote should expound that the master has recommended the cupel: A. Beprinciple it is a declare law B. To expose cardiovascular imperfections C. Beprinciple of her age D. To expose neurological imperfections 4. Answer: D. To expose neurological imperfections Alpha fetoprotein is a screening cupel produced to expose neural tube imperfections such as spina bifida. The cupel is not mandatory, as declared in tally A. It does not betray cardiovascular imperfections, and the dowager’s age has no inclination on the want for the cupel, so tallys B and C are faulty. 5. A promote is performing an arrival toll on a newborn infant delay a distinction of spina bifida (myelomeningocele). A guidance nursing toll for this newborn is: A. pulse trounce B. palpation of the abdomen C. peculiar lugubriousness of the urine D. source periphery estimatement 5. Answer: D. source periphery estimatement Newborn infants delay spina bifida (myelomeningocele fashion) are at destroy for hydrocephalus; accordingly, the source periphery should be estimated to gain a baseline.
  • Options A, B, and C are faulty beprinciple pulse trounce conquer not be interested delay this assumption, the peculiar lugubriousness can betray hydration foundation but it is not guidance at this interval, and abdominal substancees do not take-establish delay this assumption.

See Also

Related topics to this examine guide:

Further Reading

Recommended resources and books for pediatric nursing:
  1. PedsNotes: Nurse's Clinical Pocket Guide (Nurse's Clinical Pocket Guides)
  2. Pediatric Nursing Made Incredibly Easy
  3. Wong's Essentials of Pediatric Nursing
  4. Pediatric Nursing: The Critical Components of Nursing Care


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