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 Washington. Together on Wednesday June 11th we asked the State Board of Health to add CCHD to our state’s newborn screening panel. Newborns are already screened for other diseases and deficiencies; the American Heart Association believes congenital heart defects – the most common cause of infant death – should be included too.
Families with children born with CCHD’s shared their stories with decision makers at the State Board of Health on the 11th. We hope to be able to announce soon that Washington will join the other 30 plus states that screen newborns for CCHD. Stay tuned for an update as soon as a decision is made.