Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Screening Newborn Babies for Heart Defects

“Appropriate screening for critical congenital heart conditions can lead to earlier diagnosis and better outcomes for Texas infants,” Michael Speer, MD,  Houston neonatologist and Texas Medical Association president, told legislators. “Newborn screening can help determine if a newborn has structural heart defects, which may require surgery, soon after birth,” ultimately saving that baby’s life, he said.

Dr. Speer testified before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee in support of House Bill 740 by Rep. Myra Crownover (R-Denton) and Sen. Bob Deuell, MD (R-Greenville). The committee approved the bill, which requires hospitals to screen newborns for critical congenital heart defects, a condition affecting more than 550 babies per year in Texas.  Critical congenital heart disease, a severe form of congenital heart disease, can cause serious, life-threatening symptoms. “It requires medical attention within the first days or first year of life,” said Dr. Speer.

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