Routine Screening for Heart Disease Will Save Lives of Newborns

Contact: Beth Casteel,, 202.375.6275

Washington, DC –  The decision to include Critical Congenital Heart Disease in the standard list of recommended screenings for new babies costs little and will save lives as it recognizes the importance of early detection of heart defects, said Gerard Martin, MD, FACC, immediate past-chair of the Adult Congenital and Pediatric Cardiology Council of the American College of Cardiology.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced late Wednesday that Critical Congenital Heart Disease screening would be included on the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel, a list of 30 disorders for which newborns are routinely screened in the United States. She also adopted recommendations to direct the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control to fund additional research on the impact of screening.
“Secretary Sebelius did the right thing,” said Dr. Martin, senior vice president at Children’s National Medical Center’s Center for Heart, Lung and Kidney Disease, who led the ACC’s campaign to ensure the screening is provided. “Physical examination alone has not been able to detect Critical Congenital Heart Disease in all babies. Pulse oximetry, an inexpensive, non-invasive test, in addition to a careful physical examination will improve detection.”
Interview requests for Dr. Gerard Martin or other ACC spokespersons can be made by contacting Beth Casteel or Shannon Cline.

About the American College of Cardiology
The American College of Cardiology is transforming cardiovascular care and improving heart health through continuous quality improvement, patient-centered care, payment innovation and professionalism. The College is a 39,000-member nonprofit medical society comprised of physicians, surgeons, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists and practice managers, and bestows credentials upon cardiovascular specialists who meet its stringent qualifications. The College is a leader in the formulation of health policy, standards and guidelines, and is a staunch supporter of cardiovascular research. The ACC provides professional education and operates national registries for the measurement and improvement of quality care. More information about the association is available online at

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