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An Update on Our Efforts to Ensure Statewide Heart Defect Screening in Montana


As we’ve shared with you before, a movement is building across the nation to screen every newborn for critical congenital heart defects (CCHD) using pulse oximetry. CCHDs are the number one birth defect in newborns affecting roughly 1 in 100 babies. Wider use of pulse oximetry screening, a quick, painless, inexpensive test, could help identify more than 90 percent of congential heart defects.

More than 30 states have now established a statewide requirement to ensure every baby is screened. We are working with partners at the March of Dimes to do just that here in Montana.

On Wednesday May 28th, doctors, American Heart Association staff and families of children born with critical congenital heart defects testified to the Department of Public Health and Human Services on the importance of this screening. One very moving moment was when mother Bobbi Cross spoke about her son Colter. Colter looked completely healthy when he was born, he passed all the normal screenings and went home 24 hours after he was born. Only he wasn’t ok. Three days after he was born at routine checkup it was discovered he has a serious heart defect. To read more about Colter’s story click here.

We hope to be able to announce in the next month that Montana will join the other 30 plus states that screen newborns for CCHD.

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