Strategies for Implementing Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease

Background: Although newborn screening for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) was recommended by the US Health and Human Services Secretary's Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children to promote early detection, it was deemed by the Secretary of the HHS as not ready for adoption pending an implementation plan from HHS agencies.

Objective: To develop strategies for the implementation of safe, effective, and efficient screening.

Methods: A work group was convened with members selected by the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Cardiology Foundation, and the American Heart Association.

Results: On the basis of published and unpublished data, the work group made recommendations for a standardized approach to screening and diagnostic follow-up. Key issues for future research and evaluation were identified.

Conclusions: The work-group members found sufficient evidence to begin screening for low blood oxygen saturation through the use of pulse-oximetry monitoring to detect CCHD in well-infant and intermediate care nurseries. Research is needed regarding screening in special populations (eg, at high altitude) and to evaluate service infrastructure and delivery strategies (eg, telemedicine) for nurseries without on-site echocardiography. Public health agencies will have an important role in quality assurance and surveillance. Central to the effectiveness of screening will be the development of a national technical assistance center to coordinate implementation and evaluation of newborn screening for CCHD.


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