February is all about love and the heart. February is also the month when the whole country joins in a silent demonstration and wears red to spread awareness of the number one killer of Americans—heart disease. However, there is one heart in your life that as soon as you hear it for the first time, matters more than any other: the one of your child.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Congenital Heart Defects, or CCHD, account for nearly 30% of all infant deaths due to birth defects. About 7,200 babies across the United States are born with critical heart defects. The baby’s organs typically begin forming and developing before the woman knows she is pregnant; therefore, these conditions are already apparent when the baby is born.
Even though the causes for CCHD are still unknown, Delaware hospitals have taken a proactive step in looking for the babies affected by heart defects even before they leave the hospital!
As of November 2013, ALL babies born in Delaware hospitals receive a simple, non-invasive test prior to discharge to determine if they have a congenital heart defect. The test is painless and only takes a few minutes. You can learn more about this procedure by visiting CDC’s Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Defects page.
This screening ensures that babies with a heart defect are identified early and immediately get the specialized care and treatment that they need. The important point for parents is to make sure that before they leave the hospital with their newborn, this screening has been done, and they know the results and what to do next.