A growing number of states have begun to require screening for critical congenital
heart disease (CCHD), and nearly all now do so, a new study found.
“Newborn screening for CCHD in the United States has been implemented nationwide,
with numerous infants’ lives being saved or improved as a result,” wrote study authors,
who published their findings today in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Those authors include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), AAP and
the Association of Public Health Laboratories.
In 2011, federal health authorities added pulse oximetry screening for CCHD to the
U.S. Recommended Uniform Screening Panel for newborns, a move backed by the Academy.
CCHD occurs in one in every 500 births, and screening can help detect and treat it
early. Infants are screened using pulse oximetry, which measures oxygen saturation
in their arterial blood.
A 2017 study found states requiring screening saw a 33% decrease in CCHD deaths and a 21% decrease
in other congenital cardiac deaths relative to other states.
Forty-nine states and Washington, D.C., now require screening. The exception is California,
which mandates that screening be offered but not performed, according to today’s report.
However, states vary in how much data they receive and whether it is shared with birth
defects surveillance systems.
“Improved data collection practices and standardization across all jurisdictions could
increase effective monitoring and evaluation of CCHD screening,” authors wrote. “Ongoing
evaluation remains important to ensure the best possible outcomes.”