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Phoebe To Screen Every Newborn for Congenital Heart Defects

Albany, GA

News Release - Casey Dixon
Phoebe Public Relations Coordinator

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ALBANY, Ga. – Congenital heart defects account for nearly 30 percent of infant deaths due to birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In the United States, about 18 of every 10,000 babies are found to have critical congenital heart defects (CCHDs).

Due to current research, and recommendations from theAcademy of Pediatrics, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is implementing a new congenital heart defectscreening program for all babies born at the hospital in Albany.

“These screenings can truly mean the difference between life and death for the babies we deliver at Phoebe,” said Mindy Spencer, Phoebe’s neonatal outreach educator. “By screening all of our newborn patients, we could potentially detect any life-threatening abnormalities that could put the child at risk.”

The screenings are simple bedside tests to measure the amount of oxygen in the baby’s blood and the child’s pulse rate. Called a pulse oximetry, the test is painless and takes just a few minutes. Screenings are done when the child is 24 to 48 hours of age. If the test results are positive, then more tests will be needed to confirm any diagnosis.

The tests are important, because often, a child will appear healthy initially and can be sent home with their families before showing any symptoms. If identified early, the infant can be observed by a cardiologist and can receive the treatments, which may include medication or surgery.

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