2013 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Title 26 - HEALTH AND VITAL STATISTICS
Section 26:2-111.3 - Findings, declarations relative to newborn screening for congenital heart defects.


NJ Rev Stat § 26:2-111.3 (2013) What's This?

26:2-111.3 Findings, declarations relative to newborn screening for congenital heart defects.

1.The Legislature finds and declares that:

a.Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are structural abnormalities of the heart that are present at birth; CHDs range in severity from simple problems such as holes between chambers of the heart, to severe malformations, such as the complete absence of one or more chambers or valves; some critical CHDs can cause severe and life-threatening symptoms which require intervention within the first days of life;

b.According to the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services' Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children, congenital heart disease affects approximately seven to nine of every 1,000 live births in the United States and Europe; the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that CHD is the leading cause of infant death due to birth defects;

c.Current methods for detecting CHDs generally include prenatal ultrasound screening and repeated clinical examinations; while prenatal ultrasound screenings can detect some major congenital heart defects, these screenings, alone, identify less than half of all CHD cases, and critical CHD cases are often missed during routine clinical exams performed prior to a newborn's discharge from a birthing facility;

d.Pulse oximetry is a non-invasive test that estimates the percentage of hemoglobin in blood that is saturated with oxygen; when performed on a newborn a minimum of 24 hours after birth, pulse oximetry screening is often more effective at detecting critical, life-threatening CHDs which otherwise go undetected by current screening methods; newborns with abnormal pulse oximetry results require immediate confirmatory testing and intervention; and

e.Many newborn lives could potentially be saved by earlier detection and treatment of CHDs if birthing facilities in the State were required to perform this simple, non-invasive newborn screening in conjunction with current CHD screening methods.

L.2011, c.74, s.1.


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