Heart Disease Screening for Newborns

SANTA FE -- The New Mexico Department of Health and the New Mexico Chapter of the March of Dimes announced that all New Mexico hospitals will implement screening all newborns for Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD).

Some hospitals are already screening for CCHD and the other remaining hospitals are poised to come on board August 1, 2014.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year, about 7,200 infants are born with CCHD. Sometimes babies with CCHD appear healthy and are sent home before the heart defect is detected, according to the March of Dimes.

"Testing for Critical Congenital Heart Disease is vital because these disorders may not be apparent early on, but newborns with CCHD often need life saving interventions quickly," said Department of Health Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. "The new testing requirement will offer New Mexico parents some peace of mind when they take their baby home knowing that they've been screened for heart defects."

The Department of Health has been working closely over the past six months with hospitals to provide educational and training resources for staff about the required screening and also working with a team of pediatric specialty experts from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and Presbyterian Hospital to standardize procedures.

"The New Mexico Chapter of the March of Dimes is proud of Governor Martinez, our State Legislators, and the Department of Health for taking a bold move to ensure that every baby is given the best chance at a healthy start in life. This non-invasive addition to newborn screening is a crucial step in continuing to build healthier communities and families," said March of Dimes State Director Becky Horner.

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