This is a press release submitted to the Las Vegas Sun. It has not been verified or edited by the Sun.
Governor Sandoval signs lifesaving bill for newborns with Critical Congenital Heart Disease
Published on Tue, Jun 11, 2013 (3:20 p.m.)Carson City, NV – June 10, 2013 – On Monday, June 3, 2013, Governor Sandoval signed SB92, a bill that expands Nevada’s standard newborn screening panel to include screening for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) for all newborns.
The partnership between the March of Dimes and American Heart Association has been instrumental in adding CCHD to the newborn screening panel. “Senate Bill 92 will save lives and save money. Nevada families will be saved the heartache of losing a child, and these Nevada babies will undoubtedly go on to lead productive, healthy lives as the next generation of teachers, nurses, doctors and parents — the future of Nevada.” stated Michelle Gorelow, Director of Program Services, Advocacy, and Government Affairs for the March of Dimes Nevada Chapter.
“Screening babies for congenital heart defects is inexpensive and takes very little time. But it can help prevent so many problems later on. That’s why every hospital should perform these tests. With the passage of SB 92, all Nevada hospitals will now provide babies with these protections.” added Christopher Roller, Senior Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association.
“This legislation will save babies’ lives. March of Dimes and American Heart Association volunteers have worked tirelessly this session to see that this bill was passed so no family will experience the tragedy of losing an infant to a birth defect that could have been detected and treated successfully.” stated Laura Ritz, Mission Mom and March of Dimes Nevada Chapter Board Chair. The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of women of childbearing age, infants and children by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.
Congenital heart defects (CHD), which are problems with the heart’s structure and/or function which are present at birth, are the number one cause of infant deaths from birth defects. . Critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) is a subgroup of all congenital heart defects where those defects are serious enough that they pose an immediate threat to the infant’s life or health. CCHD affects approximately 4,800 babies born in the United States each year and over 550 babies each year in Nevada.
Babies with CCHD have severe, life-threatening symptoms that require intervention, such as surgery, in the first few hours, days, or months of life. In September 2011, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services added screening for CCHD to the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel. There are 31 core conditions on this panel and Nevada already provides newborn screening for the other 30 core conditions. Currently, CCHD screening is performed through a simple, non-invasive test called pulse oximetry that can detect CCHD before a baby shows signs of the condition, allowing for the proper treatment to be undertaken to prevent disability or death. Early detection and timely intervention for CCHD can decrease morbidity and mortality and lead to better outcomes for the baby.