Critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) is endorsed by the US Secretary of Health and Human Services as part of the recommended uniform screening panel for newborns. Although initial recommendations for implementation exist, as states and hospitals have moved forward with implementation of screening, new challenges and areas for additional focus have been identified. The objective of this study was to develop recommendations to address current challenges and areas of focus surrounding CCHD newborn screening.
A workgroup of experts and stakeholders was convened in Washington, District of Columbia, for a 1-day meeting in February 2012. At the beginning of the meeting, the stakeholders held a brainstorming session to identify areas of main priority based on their experience. After this, stakeholders broke into small groups to refine recommendations, which were then finalized by consensus.
Recommendations to address selection of screening equipment, standards for reporting of screening outcomes to stakeholders, training of health care providers and educating families, future research priorities, payment for screening, follow-up diagnostic testing, and public health oversight, and advocacy to facilitate effective and comprehensive screening were proposed. Suggestions for future work were developed.
Screening for CCHD presents novel challenges and opportunities; however, addressing these will strengthen newborn screening and newborn care networks, and ultimately improve health outcomes.