Newborn screening for critical congenital heart defects may help identify newborns with these conditions and allow for timely care and treatment. Babies with a critical congenital heart defect usually need surgery or other procedures in the first year of life. Some babies born with a critical congenital heart defect appear healthy at first and maybe sent home with their families before their heart defect is detected. These babies are at risk of having serious complications within the first few days or weeks of life and often require emergency care.
Typically, critical congenital heart disease leads to low levels of oxygen in a newborn and may be identified using pulse oximetry screening at least 24 hours after birth. Once identified, babies with critical congestive heart disease can be seen by heart doctors (cardiologists) and can receive specialized care and treatment that could prevent death or disability early in life.
About 1 in every 4 babies born with a heart defect has a critical congenital heart defect. Babies with a critical congenital heart defect are at increased risk for death or disability if their condition is not diagnosed soon after birth.
Newborn screening for critical congenital heart defect involves a simple, painless, bedside test called pulse oximetry in which sensors are placed on the baby’s skin. This test measures the amount of oxygen in a baby’s blood. Low levels of oxygen in the blood can be a sign of a critical congenital heart defect.
- Coarctation of the aorta
- d-Transposition of the great artery
- Double-outlet right ventricle
- Ebstein anomaly
- Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
- Interrupted aortic arch
- Pulmonary atresia (with intact septum)
- Single ventricle
- Total anomalous pulmonary venous connection
- Tetralogy of Fallot
- Tricuspid atresia
- Truncus arteriosus
Screening for critical congenital heart defect