All Wis. Newborns to be Screened for Heart Defects

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An emergency rule approved by Governor Walker will ensure all newborns born in Wisconsin will be screened for critical congenital heart defects using pulse oximetry prior to hospital discharge. This simple, non-invasive, but effective test will help catch critical congenital heart defects which might otherwise have gone undetected.

The result will be lives saved and better outcomes for babies born with these conditions.

· Congenital heart defects are malformations of the heart or major blood vessels that occur before birth. In many cases, these defects might not be identified and outwardly healthy infants could be admitted to nurseries and discharged from hospitals before signs of disease appear.

· Congenital heart defects account for 27% of infant deaths that are caused by birth defects.

· A quarter of infants who have congenital heart defects will be diagnosed with critical congenital heart disease (CCHD), a life threatening condition that requires surgery or catheter intervention within the first year of life.

“We applaud Governor Walker for approving this emergency rule,“ says Nicole Hudzinski, Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association. “The last thing anyone wants is a baby to get sick or even die while we wait for a permanent rule. Our goal has always been 100 percent of babies screened, and we’re ecstatic that we have reached that goal”.”