State-Level Newborn Screening Policies Lower Infant Cardiac Death Rates

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Policies for newborn screening for critical congenital heart disease decreased infant cardiac deaths between 2007 and 2013.
Policies for newborn screening for critical congenital heart disease decreased infant cardiac deaths between 2007 and 2013.

HealthDay News — Implementation of state newborn screening policies for critical congenital heart disease is associated with a decrease in infant cardiac deaths, according to a study published in JAMA.

Rahi Abouk, PhD, from William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ, and colleagues examined the correlation between implementation of state newborn screening policies for critical congenital heart disease and infant death rates. Data were analyzed from the National Center for Health Statistics' period linked birth/infant death data set files for 2007 to 2013 for 26,546,503 US births through June 30, 2013.

There were 2734 deaths due to critical congenital heart disease and 3867 deaths due to other/unspecified causes between 2007 and 2013. The researchers found that in states with mandatory screening policies, critical congenital heart disease death rates were 8.0 per 100,000 births in 2007 and 6.4 per 100,000 births in 2013; the death rates for other/unspecified cardiac causes were 11.7 and 10.3 per 100,000 births in 2007 and 2013, respectively. There was a 33.4% decrease in early infant deaths from critical congenital heart disease through December 31, 2013. Early infant deaths from other/unspecified cardiac causes decreased by 21.4%.

"Statewide implementation of mandatory policies for newborn screening for critical congenital heart disease was associated with a significant decrease in infant cardiac deaths between 2007 and 2013 compared with states without these policies," the authors write.

Reference

Abouk R, Grosse SD, Ailes EC, et al. Association of US state implementation of newborn screening policies for critical congenital heart disease with early infant cardiac deaths.  JAMA. 2017;318(21):2111-2118.

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