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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
August 11, 2015

Getting the Most From Newborn Congenital Heart Defects Screening

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2015 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2015;314(6):550. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.9008

Forty-three states now screen newborns for critical congenital heart defects (CCHDs), despite facing obstacles in recent years such as lack of legislative authority, staffing, funding, and informatics infrastructure. Screening can identify newborns who face serious complications or death from CCHDs, which occur in 2 of every 1000 births, within the first days or weeks of life if not treated.

In 2011, US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius endorsed adding CCHD screening to the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel for all newborns. Last year, CDC collaborated with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Newborn Screening Technical Assistance and Evaluation Program to assess states’ progress in adopting CCHD screening. Of the 43 states that perform CCHD screening, 74% are or will be collecting screening data, a crucial element in monitoring outcomes and evaluating whether screening reduces morbidity and mortality (Glidewell J et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015;64[23]:625-630).

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