The purpose of this article is to familiarize nurses with why, how, when, and where a genetic family history assessment should be used in clinical practice. Pedigrees are diagrams that display the relationship among family members by using a combination of symbols and lines. They are used to record concisely a complete family history to identify the risk of transmitting inherited conditions, to identify people at risk for development of adult-onset conditions, to aid in clinical diagnosis, and to serve as a reference for social and biologic relationships. A detailed explanation of the standardized pedigree nomenclature that was recommended by the Pedigree Standardization Task Force in 1995 is included. Step-by-step guidelines on taking a genetic family history and drawing pedigrees are provided. A case study is also included to illustrate pedigree construction
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Genetics: Foundation of Practice| November 01 1998
Genetic Family History Assessment
Patricia L. Bender, RN, MSN
From the Division of Human Genetics, Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Reprint requests to Patricia L. Bender, Division of Human Genetics, Children’s Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45229.
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AACN Adv Crit Care (1998) 9 (4): 483–490.
Patricia L. Bender; Genetic Family History Assessment. AACN Adv Crit Care 1 November 1998; 9 (4): 483–490. doi:
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