September 1st marked the initiation of Newborn Critical Congenital Heart Disease Screening (CCHD)

September 1st marked the initiation of Newborn Critical Congenital Heart Disease Screening (CCHD)

pulse ox hand1Congenital Heart Disease is the most common birth defect, affecting 8 in 1000 infants. Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) brings a significant risk of morbidity and mortality if not diagnosed soon after birth. The goal of CCHD screening using pulse oximetry is to identify those newborns with critical heart defects before they leave the hospital.  Early intervention is associated with better outcomes.  CCHD screening has been endorsed by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the March of Dimes.

Maryland became the first state to pass CCHD screening legislation, and universal screening of all infants began on September 1st, 2012. A diverse group of health leaders were selected to participate in the National Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health program.  Among the expert panel represented by several disciplines is AAMC’s NICU nurse educator Cindy Mueller RN. Cindy is the only nurse representative, and her input from the nurse’s perspective was valuable in planning the implementation of newborn CCHD screening. “It is an honor for me to be a part of this team, and for the state of Maryland being on the forefront of legislation that could save babies’ lives,” quotes Cindy.


  1. Posted by Kristina, at Reply

    Thanks for taking the lead in this life saving program Cindy!!!

  2. Posted by Kirstin, at Reply

    Proud of our educator for taking the lead on this project!

    • Posted by Cindy Mueller, at Reply

      Thank you Kirstin. I am so proud of our Women’s and Children’s staff for the successful implementation of this initiative.

      • Posted by Carrie, at Reply

        Great job CINDY 😉

  3. Posted by tina andersen, at Reply

    What an accomplishment! Great job Cindy!

  4. Posted by Kami Todd, MSN, RNC-NIC, at Reply

    As a soon-to-be Mom, again…and a Fetal Cardiac Research Nurse…I can not stress, enough, the importance of newborn CCHD screening. Although, a baby can be diagnosed as early as 12 weeks of gestation, thanks to the advances in technology and pediatric cardiologist who dedicate their careers to fetal cardiology…unfortunately, the majority of babies born today, will not have a fetal diagnosis. With a simple, non-invasive, pulse oximetry screening (as seen in the above picture), the number of babies affected by CCHD who are captured, shortly after birth, will greatly increase; hense, initiating the critical medical and surgical interventions needed for survival, in a timely manner.

    I am due to have my baby girl any day now, and I could not be more at ease that she will undergo the newborn CCHD screening at AAMC, after birth. Although, I had a fetal echocardiogram (sonogram of the baby’s heart in the womb), and know that her heart is normal…I find it comforting that she will have the opportunity to participate in a new life saving newborn screening exam!

    Newborn CCHD screening has saved lives, and is proven by research to save lives…the lives of those babies unfortunately not diagnosed with CCHD prior to birth.

    • Posted by Cindy Mueller, at Reply

      Thank you for your words of support Kami! Congratulations on your new baby to be!

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