Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease added to required Idaho newborn screenings starting July 1

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Effective July 1, Idaho medical providers will screen all newborns for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) as part of the panel of required screenings in the state.

Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect and can range from mild to very serious. The very serious heart defects are referred to as critical congenital heart disease, which includes a collection of defects that are present at birth and involve structural problems in the heart or problems with blood flow through the heart. Congenital heart defects account for up to 30 percent of infant deaths caused by birth defects. In Idaho, an estimated 55 babies are born each year with critical congenital heart disease.

Babies born with critical congenital heart disease may appear to be healthy at first, which means they may be sent home with their families before their heart defect is detected. These babies are at risk for having serious complications within those first few days or weeks and often require emergency care.

“Newborn screening helps give babies the best start in life,” said Jacquie Watson, Maternal and Child Health Section Manager in the Division of Public Health. “Early identification and treatment of these serious heart defects means that more babies will live to celebrate their first birthdays and will continue to thrive as they reach other important milestones.”  Continue reading


RSV and whooping cough on the rise in Idaho – protect your baby


We are seeing high numbers of cases in Idaho of a couple of diseases that are serious and even deadly for babies. Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, and pertussis, commonly called whooping cough, are not likely to cause serious health issues for otherwise healthy adults, but it’s still very important for everyone to take precautions against both. Continue reading

Did you know? Newborn screening panels check your baby for 47 health conditions

All babies born in Idaho are screened for 47 conditions before they ever even leave the hospital and go home for the first time. It’s all done in a simple blood test called the Newborn Screen Test.

Sounds like a football play. Is that a new procedure?

Idaho has been screening its babies since 1963. Initially, the test screened only for PKU, which could cause irreversible mental damage if not diagnosed. Since then, 46 other conditions have been added to the Idaho screening panel, including Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, which was added just this year. Nationally, newborn screening saves or improves the lives of 12,000 babies each year. In Idaho, one baby in 500 will be affected by these conditions.  Continue reading