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Why Newborn Screening for CCHD Is Essential

April 10, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 124

There is a growing awareness about the necessity for screening newborns within the first forty eight to seventy two hours of their short lives. This simple test helps newborn infants susceptible to some diseases and conditions by ensuring that they are detected as early as possible. Treatment can then be administered immediately.

Without the screening process there are a wide variety of illnesses which aren't discovered until it is too late. In some heart-breaking cases, the baby has died without anyone being aware that there was anything wrong. In many cases there weren't any symptoms displayed by the infant.

Fortunately, matters are improving, although not quickly enough to save every newborn baby. It is of paramount importance that every infant in the United States be screened for every disease and illness possible. Without this essential screening, newborn babies are left vulnerable to many preventable and/or treatable conditions.

One Simple Test

In order to discover whether a newborn infant is likely to have any of a large number of diseases, there is a simple test which must be done. The test involves pricking the heel of the baby. A few drops of blood are collected and sent to a specialist testing laboratory. There they are able to analyze the results and in the majority of cases return a "normal" result. This indicates that the baby is highly unlikely to develop any condition or illness among those tested by the laboratory. An abnormal result may suggest that there is a problem which will require further investigation.

These are many different conditions which are screened for and these include Congenital Hypothyroidism (CH), Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH), Congenital Deafness (CD) and Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Another illness which can be screened for is Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD).

Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD)

Screening is now able to identify Pulse Oximetry Screening which may be present in Critical Congenital heart Disease (CCHD) and the following is how one baby who died from this condition.

The newborn infant had only been taken home by her doting parents a few days earlier. When her mother lifted her, she realized that her baby had stopped breathing. The coroner told these heart-broken parents that their cherished little one had died from congenital heart disease, which was an illness neither parent recognized.

They wanted some information and after researching managed to establish that their baby might have still been alive if she had been given pulse oximetry screening, which can identify problems with pulmonary veins. This can result in low oxygen saturation.

Pulse oximetry screening for critical congenital heart disease (a subset of CHD which is able to be identified by pulse ox) is being worked on at federal level to ensure that it is added to the newborn screening panel. At this time it still isn't included as part of the screening process in every state.

New born screening is becoming much more widely recognized. However, there is still a considerable amount of work required before every state is completely current with their newborn screening program.

For more information please see this video:

The Save Babies Through Screening Foundation provides comprehensive information on Newborn Screening

Source: EzineArticles
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