Newborn screening for critical congenital heart defect may help identify newborns with these conditions and allow for timely care and treatment. Babies with a critical congenital heart defect usually need surgery or other procedures in the first year of life. Some babies born with a critical congenital heart defect appear healthy at first and may be sent home with their families before their heart defect is detected. These babies are at risk for having serious complications within the first few days or weeks of life and often require emergency care.
Typically, critical congenital heart disease lead to low levels of oxygen in a newborn and maybe identified using pulse oximetry screening at least 24 hours after birth. Once identified, babies with a critical congestive heart disease can be seen by heart doctors (cardiologists) and can receive specialized care and treatment that could prevent death or disability early in life.
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