February 11, 2016

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDHE Recognizes Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, Feb. 7-14

TOPEKA, Kan. - Every year, approximately 7,200 babies are diagnosed with Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD). The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is proud to announce that all birthing facilities in Kansas are now providing screening for CCHD following a Quality Initiative providing technical assistance and training to every birthing facility in Kansas.

Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, Feb. 7-14, promotes awareness and education about congenital heart defects (CHD). CCHD substantially increases the risk of infant death if not diagnosed shortly after birth.

“At Children's Mercy Hospital over the last year, we have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of newborns presenting critically ill due to their Critical Congenital Heart Defect (CCHD),” said Stephen Kain, M.D., KDHE Newborn Screening Committee for CCHD member. “The impact of pulse oximetry on early diagnosis of CCHD is clearly saving lives”.

Thescreening is a simple non-evasive test that is performed by pulse oximetry after a baby is 24 hours of age. Later this month, KDHE will launch a new data system designed to track and monitor reported CCHD screenings.

Heart defects are costly and critical conditions that persons live with throughout their lives. An estimated 2 million children and adults in the United States are living with CHD today. CDC’s Stories: Living with Heart Defects website includes personal stories written by persons affected by CHDs (

For more information about congenital heart defects, including screening for CCHD, visit: