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posted on June 12, 2018 09:28

Effective July 1, Idaho medical providers will screen all newborns for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) as part of the panel of required screenings in the state. 

Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect and can range from mild to very serious. The very serious heart defects are referred to as critical congenital heart disease, which includes a collection of defects that are present at birth and involve structural problems in the heart or problems with blood flow through the heart. Congenital heart defects account for up to 30 percent of infant deaths caused by birth defects. In Idaho, an estimated 55 babies are born each year with critical congenital heart disease. 

Babies born with critical congenital heart disease may appear to be healthy at first, which means they may be sent home with their families before their heart defect is detected. These babies are at risk for having serious complications within those first few days or weeks and often require emergency care. 

“Newborn screening helps give babies the best start in life,” said Jacquie Watson, Maternal and Child Health Section Manager in the Division of Public Health. “Early identification and treatment of these serious heart defects means that more babies will live to celebrate their first birthdays and will continue to thrive as they reach other important milestones.”

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