School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 8-15-2024


Congenital defects are the leading cause of death in American infants, with Texas ranked 2nd in congenital defect-related infant deaths, and counties in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) having the highest rates in Texas. These poor fetal-outcomes can be attributed to a rapidly growing population with inadequate prenatal healthcare. Fertility rates in the RGV rank as high as 3rd, in Texas, while also having some of the highest rates of maternal diabetes and lowest first- trimester prenatal care visits as well. These maternal-fetal issues result in a community with one of the highest rates of congenital defects in the nation, whose management often requires intervention by pediatric and cardiothoracic surgeons. However, these specialties are severely lacking within the RGV. This paper aims to identify disparities in available care and associated poor outcomes affecting this vulnerable pediatric population.

Academic Level

medical student

Mentor/PI Department


Available for download on Friday, February 26, 2027