For early detection of this life-threatening birth defect, the testing is now performed on every infant before hospital discharge.
In honor of the law and its recent implementation, the Governor has proclaimed Feb. 7-14, Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week in Kentucky.
Feb. 7-14 is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week
“Newborn screenings are essential to detect the presence of life-threatening birth defects, conditions and diseases early on,” said Stephanie Mayfield, M.D. commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health. “For many of our children, early screening can mean the difference between good health and well-being and one spent dealing with a debilitating condition. It can even mean the difference between life and death.”
One-third of the cases of Congenital Heart Disease are a more serious type of the disease known as Critical Congenital Heart Disease.
Due to the nature of this particular type of the condition, half of the cases of Critical Congenital Heart Disease are discovered after the baby is discharged from the hospital because the baby appears healthy.
“If not caught before hospital discharge, serious or life-threatening complications could occur within the first days or weeks of life,” said Mayfield.
By utilizing the screening methods developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and endorsed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 85 percent of Critical Congenital Heart Disease cases can be identified before hospital discharge. Early detection and intervention by a pediatric cardiologist resulting from this testing can greatly improve the quality of life for these infants.For more information about Critical Congenital Heart Disease and pulse oximetry testing, please visit the Kentucky Newborn Screening website.
Information provided by Cabinet for Health and Family Services
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