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Screening Newborns for Congenital Heart Defects in Georgia

by Krystle R. on Monday, November 4, 2013

According to the CDC, Critical Congenital Heart Defects (CCHD) account for nearly 30% of all infant deaths due to birth defects.  It is the leading cause of death among American babies.  We are working to lower that number in Georgia.

A simple, noninvasive test can detect a CCHD if performed at 24 hours of age states the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).  Using a pulse oximeter machine, a small clip is attached to a finger or toe and within minutes the test will measure the amount of oxygen in the blood and the baby’s pulse rate.  Low readings could indicate a birth defect and warrant immediate investigation with further testing.  Hospitals already have this inexpensive equipment on hand.

All newborn babies already go through a thorough examination after birth to make sure they are healthy enough to go home.  However, the most vital organ, the heart, is not receiving a pulse oximetry test to detect Congenital Heart Defects.  We would like to see this two-minute test added to the mandatory examination list that all newborns receive.  The American Heart Association confirms that nearly 30 states have a policy in place that ensures all newborns will receive a pulse oximetry test.  Unfortunately, Georgia is not one of them.

Right now we are collecting your stories to share and use to educate Georgia’s decision makers about this inexpensive, quick and painless test that could save the lives of our babies.  If you have been affected by a CCHD, with or without pulse oximetry testing, please contact us with a brief description of your experience and your contact information.

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