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Amniotic Banding Syndrome, What is it?

Earlier this year, Mellisa Hege spent some time with the Craniofacial Team at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, shadowing Patricia Terrell, RN, a team member. During that time she became interested in the care of patients with Amniotic Banding Syndrome, after seeing a child with this diagnosis and this article is the result of her work to learn more about the condition.

Amniotic Banding Syndrome, What is it?

Amniotic Banding Syndrome (ABS) is a set of congenital birth defects caused when the fetus becomes entangled in fibrous string-like bands of amnion, a thin, tough, membranous sac that encloses the embryo or fetus in the womb, restricting blood flow and affecting the baby’s development.

There are several theories as to the cause of ABS. The most widely accepted is rupture of amnion occurring early in gestation (the pregnancy). The timing of the rupture is believed to occur between 4 and 18 weeks of pregnancy, although some bands can occur and present at birth. Amniotic Banding Syndrome is difficult to diagnose although the estimates of incidence widely vary, from 1 in 1,200 to 1 in 15,000 live births.

If amniotic banding syndrome is suspected, an ultrasound should be conducted to assess any and all abnormalities. A fetus with amniotic banding syndrome should pose no increased risk for the mother during pregnancy although there is an increased risk for birth defects and premature labor and delivery. During delivery a fetus with ABS should be delivered at a hospital with a high risk nursery.

Credits: This article is written as part of Mellisa Hege’s Biomedical Innovations Cadre Class senior project. Thanks to Ms. Swanson, my cadre teacher, for allowing me to do this project, Brownsburg High School Staff for their efforts in helping me get better ideas for this project, Patricia Terrell, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with the Craniofacial Team at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, for being a very helpful mentor, the online Amniotic Banding Syndrome Community families, Riley Craniofacial Team’s website for providing a spot for this piece to be posted and last but not least the University of California Fetal Center for their help in the research process of this project.

Patricia M. Terrell, MSN, CPNP

Author of this Article

Pat has been involved with Plastic Surgery patients at Riley at IU Health for over 30 years. Her early years were spent in the Operating Rooms, where she was in charge of Plastic Surgery. Since the mid 1990's, Pat has been supporting the Craniofacial Team as a nurse practitioner. Pat has been a member of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association since 1982 and has served on the Donna-Pruzansky Memorial Fund for Maternity Child Health Nursing committee.

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