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It's official! All Michigan babies will be screened for congenital heart defects.

by Jason H. on Monday, October 7, 2013

I am happy to let you know that recently the Michigan Department of Community Health announced that screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) has been officially added to the Michigan newborn screening panel!

As the number one killer of infants with birth defects, congenital heart defects take a significant toll on families across the country.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 300 infants with unrecognized CCHD are discharged each year from hospitals in the United States. These babies are at risk of having serious complications within the first few days or weeks of life and often require emergency care.  Fortunately there is a non-invasive screening test that helps identify newborns at risk for heart defects and can potentially save their lives.  The test, pulse oximetry, or pulse ox, consists of sensors placed on a baby's hand and foot to check blood oxygen levels.  If their levels are too low, additional tests may be conducted that aid in detecting critical or possibly life-threatening heart defects that might otherwise go undetected.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has recommended adding pulse oximetry screening to the list of tests conducted on newborns prior to hospital discharge, and on April 1, 2014, Michigan will officially join over 30 states across the country in making sure that every baby is screened for a congenital heart defect before they go home.

Here at the American Heart Association, we helped educate legislative leaders on the importance of this issue and worked with the Michigan Department of Community Health to make sure that this important screening was added to the other screenings that newborns receive.

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Comments (1)

  • So glad to hear this! So many defects, conditions, and possible heart disease go undetected when children are born.

    — Christina S.

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