Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Health Authority-Abu Dhabi and Children’s National Lead the World in Detecting Critical Infant Heart Defects

The Health Authority – Abu Dhabi together with Children’s National Medical Center announced the rollout of a newborn screening program in Abu Dhabi for critical cyanotic congenital heart disease (CCCHD), the most serious form of congenital heart disease (CHD).

In January, a team from the Children’s National visited all regions of Abu Dhabi to meet with representatives from their twenty-three maternity hospitals and to present the scientific background and methodology of the pulse oximetry screening test. Congenital heart disease is the world's most common birth defect. By using pulse oximetry, HAAD estimates that 10 Abu Dhabi children each year will be diagnosed with CCCHD and will receive treatment early enough to more effectively manage the condition.

“This particular test is highly recommended in order to detect critical congenital heart diseases before the newborn is discharged from the maternity hospital. It will be fully integrated into the neonatal screening program, which began implementation in 2010,” said Dr. Shereena Al Mazrouie, Senior Officer of Family and School Health at HAAD.

“Diagnosing and treating CCCHD in its early stages is key. That’s why it is so important to have pulse oximetry screening available to all newborns,” said Dr. Gerard Martin, co-director of Children’s National Heart Institute, who conducted the trainings in Abu Dhabi.

Research shows that children who are diagnosed with CCCHD later in life tend to require more hospital care, greater resources, and have worse health outcomes long term. Made possible by a long-standing relationship between HAAD and Children’s Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, this pulse oximetry program is the first in a series of initiatives where HAAD and Children’s National will collaborate to identify improvements in pediatric care to benefit children worldwide.

Read the full media release.

Coverage of the announcement in Abu Dhabi and United Arab Emirates media includes:
(Photo above: Dr. Martin shares data and information about pulse oximetry for newborn screening with clinicians at Madinat Zayed Hospital.)

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