Mandatory Newborn Screening for Critical Heart Defects Saves Lives

1 year 10 months ago

"I think there were some people who thought this would be helpful but it would be more of an early detection and early implementation of therapy as opposed to really saving lives," Dr Stephen Daniels (Children's Hospital Colorado, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora), who was not involved with the study, told | Medscape Cardiology.

"What this study shows is that when you don't have screening in place, cases are missed and the outcome can be bad; screening improves this outcome. And I think that is a very important message."

Using the National Center for Health Statistics period-linked birth/infant death data set from 2007 through 2013, the researchers compared early deaths (age 24 hours to <6 months) due to 12 CCHDs or other/unspecified cardiac causes in eight states with mandatory screening, five states with voluntary screening, and nine states with mandatory screening enacted but not implemented by June 1, 2013.

Compared with states without mandatory screening policies, the mean adjusted relative decrease in CCHD deaths with mandatory screening was 33.4%, with an absolute decline of 3.9 deaths per 100,000 births.

For other/unspecified cardiac deaths, the relative decrease was 21.4% and absolute decline 3.5 deaths/100,000.

In the five states that enacted voluntary screening policies, the absolute decrease in CCHD deaths was 0.6/100,000 and 1.0/100,000 for other cardiac deaths.

Notably, the relative reduction in CCHD deaths surpassed 50% for six states implementing mandates from July 1, 2012 to June 1, 2013—a period when it's thought mandated and voluntary screening implementation took off.