Studies and peer-reviewed journal pieces have become standard reading over my career. After Eve’s CHD and the founding of 1in100, even more so. While in most cases, these are the types of publications that warrant credibility by name alone, it’s important to note that not everything published is direct science, has perfect methodology, or frankly, is to be taken as gospel.
It’s always exciting to see another published article on newborn screening for Critical Congenital Heart Defects. The more info out there among clinicians, the faster the adoption rate. That’s because 99 percent of the published pieces on this topic (at least since 2010) have been in support of routine screening of newborns for heart defects.
Two more editorial and commentary pieces hit the circuit this week in The Lancet: Kemper Screening of newborn babies Lancet 2012
There are some very important points addressed in each, most of which I fully agree and support. Some of the comments – not so much. To suggest the importance of better prenatal detection is of critical CHD is one thing. To add that the purpose of such is solely to give families the choice of termination is entirely another. The example used is Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, which most would argue is now being treated with a high rate of success. (See Gil Wernovsky, MD commentary: The Paradigm Shift Toward Surgical Intervention for Neonates With Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. To be sure, there are thousands of children in this country, and around the world, now surviving and thriving with HLHS. To disregard this important clinical progress is a discredit to those patients, to those individuals and institutions providing interventional care, and to future families faced with this diagnosis.
With many scientific paper and editorials, we have to take the good with the bad, hoping that in most cases, the good far outweighs the bad. Onward and upward.