“These are not isolated incidents”
This gorgeous little girl is Taryn Kennedy. She was happy, healthy, growing until almost one month old. Her parents didn’t see it coming, and she was lost to an undiagnosed heart defect – TAPVR – at 29 days old. I stood next to her mom, Vi Kennedy (blessherheart.org), just two weeks ago at the national advisory committee meeting evaluating newborn screening for Critical Congenital Heart Defects. She is eloquent and brave…and she is not alone.
I sent this via email to the members of our Minnesota pulse ox pilot team about 6 weeks ago. Thought it was worth posting here. I am amazed by the continuity and consistency of the data that comes in regarding newborn screening for CCHD. I get that we have a bias…but the facts are simply becoming far to difficult to argue with. As Dr. Martin put it to the national committee “these are not isolated incidents, babies are missed all the time…” Feel free to add your comments or feedback – the armor gets stronger every day. Here’s the email:
Wanted to share this with you. They are the top 8 defects – in order of prevalence – that are the most often missed during routine newborn exam alone (these come from Dr. Hoffman’s recent paper and gathered study data). Below that are some of the responses heart families posted on what their undiagnosed defects were…on our Facebook page alone, we got over 2 dozen responses in a matter of a few hours. I may post again to see what additional feedback comes in. Would be interested to hear if anything hear strikes you as unusual (other than an HLHS baby going undiagnosed for 2 months!) Annamarie
1. Coarctation of the Aorta (COA)
2. Interrupted aortic arch
3. Aortic stenosis
4. Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS)
6. Truncus arteriosus
7. Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)
1. Marlee had an Interupted Aortic Arch and a VSD and wasn’t diagnosed until she was 2 days old and her PDA was closing!
2. My son had d-TGA with a VSD. Dx at 5 days old!!!
3. The defects listed are critical when the children’s lives depend on the ductus staying open. This is why I would like to follow the pulse ox push before discharge with a pulse ox at the pediatrician’s office on day three. There will be many, many more caught if we can do both (posted by a former NICU nurse in Tennessee)
4. They didn’t catch Lauren’s HLHS in utero. We didn’t know something was wrong until about 19 hours after she was born when she stopped nursing. The surgeon told us later they may have missed it because her left ventricle is 60% the size it should be, which is large for HLHS. At one point, they even considered trying to let her use the left ventricle, but they decided against it.
5. They didn’t catch Brayden’s TOF in utero. Diagnosed at 3 days old.
6. None of Caylen’s defects including heterotaxy, dextrocardia, TGA, av discordance (just some of the major defects) were seen in utero. It took them three days just to figure out all her defects and diagnose her. I love the pulse ox campaign, though, to catch all the ones who don’t show up as dramatically as hers did after she was born. I push it to everyone. My brother is a respiratory therapist in a NICU and he’s pushing the idea, too.
7. My daughter’s TOF was diagnosed at three days old…we knew something wasn’t right because her murmur was SO loud but, nothing was ever picked up in utero.
8. My son was born with a vsd, pds, asd, and an extra mass in his heart.. and he was born with heterotaxy and polysplenia syndrome and we didn’t find out until he was 2 months old because he was breathing fast. I took him to the emergency room and that’s how we found out…we were in total shock.
9. My daughter’s TOF was caught by a nurse who heard the very loud murmur AFTER the doc wrote our discharge orders for home. We were literally 10 minutes away from going home. An OB/GYN did our US at 18 weeks and couldn’t get the blood flow. I will always wonder if someone else would have detected the TOF. I’m all for the pulse ox and blood pressure check on upper and lower extremities.
10. I had 5 sonograms – and none caught Dom’s CHD (coarctation of the aorta, biccupsid aortic valve, mitral valve stenosis). The only reason why it was caught before we went home because we were in NICU because they thought he had an infection and he was getting antibiotics. They heard the mumur when he was 4 days old and did the echo just as procedure. I was told that if it wasn’t caught then, I would have been back in the hospital before 2 weeks was up with Dom in heart failure. So I am thankful that we happened to be in the right place at the right time.
11. Maddy’s TAPVR went undetected for two weeks after birth.
12. My son had critical aortic stenosis that was not caught until a few hours after he was born. He turned blue shortly after he was born. He ended up having a heart transplant when he was 6 weeks old. He will be 7 yrs next week! I love the idea of the Pulse Ox for all new borns!
13. Alex’s HLHS wasn’t diagnosed until he was 2 months old. It’s a miracle he’s still with us. An unusually large left ventrical was the difference. Hopefully we can work together to make sure more heart defects are detected earlier so others won’t have to worry like we did.