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Doctors are preparing a new born baby for the CCHD screening to find the abnormalities in the heart.


Critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) represents a group of heart defects that cause serious, life-threatening symptoms and requires intervention within the first days or first year of life. CCHD is often treatable if detected early.
CCHD prevents the heart from pumping blood effectively or reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood. As a result, organs and tissues throughout the body do not receive enough oxygen, which can lead to organ damage and life-threatening complications.
  • CCHD can encompass abnormalities in the rhythm of the heart, as well as a wide array of structural heart problems.
  • CCHD can involve abnormal or absent chambers, holes in the heart, abnormal connections in the heart, and abnormalities in the function or squeeze of the heart. Most congenital heart conditions affect patients from childhood through adulthood.
  • These problems can range from mild (never requiring cardiac surgery), to severe (requiring multiple different stages of open heart surgeries).
  • Individuals with CCHD usually require surgery soon after birth.
Some babies affected with CCHD can look and act healthy at first, but within hours or days after birth they can have serious complications.
  • If untreated, CCHD can lead to shock, coma, and death.
  • If detected early, infants affected with CCHD can often be treated and lead longer, healthier livesdue to improvements in early detection, diagnosis, and treatment.

Testing Process

Pulse oximetry newborn screening is a non-invasive test that measures how much oxygen is in the blood and can help to identify babies that may be affected with CCHD before they leave the newborn nursery. A provider will place a small soft sensor on the baby’s skin and attach it to a machine called an oximeter for a few minutes. The oximeter will measure the baby’s oxygen levels in the hand and foot.

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