Health
2:53 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

All Michigan newborns to be screened for heart defects

Credit nasirkhan / MorgueFile

Beginning next April, all babies born in Michigan will be screened for Critical Congenital Heart Disease -- or CCHD.

The Michigan Department of Community Health says Michigan will join 31 other states that include pulse oximetry screening to their newborn screening tests.

The painless test measures the amount of oxygen in a newborn's blood.

MDCH spokeswoman Angela Minicuci says congenital heart disease is one of the most common birth defects and impacts about nine out of every 1,000 newborns.

"It's also one of the most significant causes of death nationally. We'll be able to identify affected newborns more quickly, and get them in for treatment much sooner," Minicuci says.

"Failure to detect this disease puts the baby at risk for either death or very serious complications in the first few days or weeks of life," says Minicuci, who adds that the majority of Michigan birthing hospitals are actually already doing the screening, and more plan to begin.

"But there are children who aren't born at birthing hospitals. They're born at home or with a midwife, so adding this to the newborn screening panel ensures that almost every single newborn in Michigan will be able to receive this test."