Every year, more than 4,800 infants are born with Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) making it the leading cause of death in babies less than 1 year of age. These babies require immediate cardiac evaluation and intervention within the first few days or months of life.
A simple, pain-free screening test can help prevent this statistic from growing. Performed any time after 24 hours of age but before leaving the hospital, a narrow tape with a small sensor is placed on the outside of the baby’s right hand and foot, to measure how much oxygen is in its blood. If the test is negative, or normal, the oxygen in the baby’s blood is at a standard level. A positive test result indicates that the oxygen in the baby’s blood was low, suggesting a possible congenital heart disease and further evaluation.
In July 2012, Texas Children’s joined 12 other rural and metropolitan birthing facilities in Texas as part of TxPOP: the Texas Pulse Oximetry Project. The project, a joint educational initiative with The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio’s Department of Pediatrics which is funded through a grant from the Department of State Health Services, allowed for the development of a comprehensive educational program to implement early CCHD screening with pulse oximetry.
Beginning February 1, 2013, Texas Children’s began screening all newborns for CCHD as a part of the standard newborn screening. In June, legislation requiring CCHD screening for all newborns in Texas was signed into law. All birthing facilities in the state will soon have to implement their own protocols for the screening test.
Texas Children’s is not only leading the way leading the way in screening babies for CCHD, but we’re also providing a road-map for other hospitals and doctors in the state of Texas to be able to follow as well.
This video explains more about CCHD screening at Texas Children’s and how the simple test can help save babies’ lives.