Newborn Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Defects

Is my baby screened for critical congenital heart defects (CCHD)?

A Hawaii state law (House Bill 467, H.D.1, S.D.1) was passed in 2015 mandating that each baby born in a hospital be screened for critical congenital heart defects (CCHD).  Typically, these types of heart defects lead to low levels of oxygen in a baby and may be identified using pulse oximetry screening at least 24 hours after birth.  Pulse oximetry is a simple, quick and painless way to measure how much oxygen a baby has in his or her blood.  Babies who have low oxygen levels may have a CCHD and may need further testing.

CCHD describes a group of heart defects that can cause life-threatening problems which need to be treated within the first days or first year of life.  Here are a few examples of CCHDs.

  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
  • Pulmonary atresia
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Total anomalous pulmonary venous return
  • Transposition of the great arteries
  • Tricuspid atresia
  • Truncus arteriosus

Learn more about newborn screening for CCHD