An Evaluation of the Addition of Critical Congenital Heart Defect Screening in Georgia Newborn Screening Procedures

Matern Child Health J. 2017 Nov;21(11):2086-2091. doi: 10.1007/s10995-017-2321-0.


Objectives Each year in the U.S., approximately 7200 infants are born with a critical congenital heart defect (CCHD). The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) mandated routine screening for CCHD starting January 2015. The current study evaluated hospital performance of the mandated CCHD screenings in Georgia. Methods Utilizing the DPH newborn screening surveillance system, data from 6 months before and after the mandate were analyzed for reports submitted and positive CCHD screening results. Chi square tests of independence were performed to examine the association between reporting of results for CCHD screening after the mandate and hospital nursery level [level I (well-baby/newborn); level II (special care); level III (neonatal intensive care unit-NICU)] and NICU submissions. Results In the 6 months following implementation, reports of the screening increased, but the DPH had not received information for approximately 40% of newborns. Hospitals with level III nurseries had poorer reporting rates compared to hospitals with level I or II nurseries. Newborn screening (NBS) cards submitted by NICUs were less likely to contain the CCHD screening results compared to cards submitted by regular Labor and Delivery units. Conclusions for Practice Further attention should focus on improving both CCHD screening and reporting of screening results within hospitals with level III nurseries and from NICUs at all hospital levels. Identifying and addressing the root of the issue, whether it be hospital compliance with CCHD screening or reporting of the results, will help to improve screening rates for all newborns, especially those most vulnerable.

Keywords: CCHD; Evaluation; Hospital performance.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Georgia
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnosis*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / epidemiology
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal*
  • Male
  • Neonatal Screening / methods*