Monday December 10th will be a pivotal date in the potential advancement of policy to save infants born with Congenital Heart Defects (CHD). That's the date the Child Fatality Task Force (CFTF) meets to decide whether or not to add 'requiring congenital heart disease screening using pulse oximetry for all newborns before they are sent home from the birthing center' to their priority recommendations for the 2013 legislative session. As an influential task force within our state government, having the CFTF make our issue one of their priorities will be key to advancing the issue with the General Assembly when they convene January 30, 2013. The legislators on the task force will help lead the effort to require the addition of CHD screening using pulse oximetry to NC’s newborn screening panel.
According to the CDC, at least 280 infants with an unrecognized critical CHD are discharged each year from newborn nurseries in the United States, at risk of serious complications in the first days or weeks of life that require emergency care. Pulse oximetry is a non-invasive screening test that helps identify newborns at with heart defects and potentially save their lives. The test, pulse oximetry, uses sensors placed on a baby’s hand and foot to check blood oxygen levels. If the levels are too low, additional tests are conducted to diagnose critical life-threatening heart defects that might otherwise go undetected. Simple pulse oximetry screening for critical CHD would identify the majority of critical congenital heart defect cases. Once identified, babies with a CCHD can be seen by cardiologists and can receive special care and treatment that can prevent death or disability early in life.
This week we sent our You’re the Cure network an action alert asking you to communicate important information to members of the CFTF. Have you taken action? If you haven’t – don’t delay, Click here to send your customizable letter now.
Next week we will certainly provide an update on the actions of the CFTF. Please hurry to send a letter to your lawmakers before Monday!