tests have led to dramatic improvements in the identification and
treatment of a variety of conditions. A federal advisory committee has
proposed adding a screening test for congenital heart disease (CHD),
which is responsible for more deaths in the first year of life than any
other birth defect.
In a report to be published in the November 2011
issue of Pediatrics, authors outline a strategy for national
screening for CHD, using a simple, noninvasive test called pulse
oximetry that measures oxygen in blood. A preprint of the manuscript,
“Strategies for Implementing Screening for Critical Congenital Heart
Disease,” will be posted online Monday, Aug. 22.
The report is
endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College
of Cardiology Foundation and the American Heart Association. Based on a
review of the scientific evidence, the report authors made
recommendations for a standard approach to screening and follow-up,
and identified key issues for further research and evaluation.
Individual states will determine whether to add CHD testing to their
panel of newborn screening tests, and this report will give guidance
to those states and hospitals looking to implement screening. (New
Jersey will begin screening for CHD on Aug. 31 for all babies before
The authors recognize the challenges of implementing a new
screening program and endorse efforts underway to develop a national
The American Academy of
Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians,
pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists
dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children,
adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.