Missouri to begin screening newborns for congenital heart defect

December 27, 2013 

A new Missouri law will require screening of every newborn in the state for critical congenital heart disease.

Beginning Jan. 1, the screening will be mandatory using an non-invasive method of pulse oximetry to measure the amount of oxygen in a baby’s blood, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Missouri joins about 33 other states that have added CCHD screening to their lists of disorders for which newborns are screened shortly after birth.

Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect in the United States, affecting about one percent of births per year. CCHDs make up 17-31 percent of all congenital heart defects and require either surgical or catheter intervention soon after birth. If left untreated, CCHDs can lead to death or serious developmental delays.

Chloe’s Law will help ensure that all newborns in Missouri receive this potentially life-saving screening. With an incidence of about 18 of every 10,000 babies, it is estimated that there are around 140 babies born in the state each year with CCHD. Without early intervention, these babies could be sent home at risk of developing serious complications within the first few days or weeks of life.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association, March of Dimes, and other national organizations, including the federal government, have recommended CCHD screening be added to routine screenings provided to all newborns.

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