I Am One

Our One in 1 Hundred


Congenital Heart Awareness Week
February 7th - February 14th

Kalvin was very excited to keep up the tradition of holding the big Red Sox hand forming the number one for his annual "I Am One" photo.  You can check out last year's picture here.

We are all trying to spread awareness this week.  Many don't realize that CHDs can strike anyone's baby.  It may be your next child or your grandchild. 

Kalvin was diagnosed in utero with one critical congenital heart defect (CCHD)-Transposition of the great arteries and three secondary- coarctation of the aorta, pulmonary stenosis and a ventricular septal defect.

Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Defects-Help Spread the Word

Critical congenital heart defects (CCHDs) are serious structural heart defects that occur in a very small number of newborns (the CDC estimates about 7,200 each year in the U.S.). CCHDs are the culprit of about 30 percent of infant deaths.

CCHDs make up around 25 percent of all congenital heart defects, and often require surgery very early in life. The diagnosis of CCHDs requires the right kinds of screening. Without proper screening, newborns might be misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. CCHDs can be picked up on routine obstetrical ultrasounds that almost all pregnant women have. But not all CCHDs are obvious before or after delivery, and it’s possible that a newborn could leave the hospital without being diagnosed. The consequences of this can be disastrous. Depending on the type and severity of the CCHD, these defects can be fatal or lead to serious problems.

Utilizing pulse oximetry screening, more infants can be diagnosed with a range of CCHDs before they get sick. These screening looks at seven major defects: hypoplastic left heart syndrome, tetralogy of Fallot, pulmonary atresia with intact septum, transposition of the great arteries, total anomalous pulmonary venous return, truncus arteriosus and tricuspid atresia. Five additional, secondary, diagnoses include double outlet right ventricle, coarctation of the aorta, Ebstein’s anomaly, single ventricle and interrupted aortic arch.

While each of these defects is a mouthful to pronounce, the actual screening process for CCHDs is pretty simple. A portable, non-invasive device called a pulse oximeter can quickly measure the oxygen level in an infant’s blood. If an abnormal reading occurs, the infant is referred for an echocardiogram, or ultrasound of the heart, which is interpreted by a pediatric cardiologist. The heart may actually be normal, (a ‘false positive’ screen), but if it is abnormal then the pediatric cardiologist and the providers taking care of the newborn will come up with an action plan.

It’s important to note that this screening doesn't take the place of routine exams, and not all types of CCHDs can be uncovered with this screening. However, the actual cost of this screening is relatively low. Sometimes a simple $15 screening can save a life. 

We are trying to get pulse oximetry screening mandatory in every state.  Please be sure to ask for the screening for your baby and help us spread the word so that no baby will go home undiagnosed.

Read more: here.

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