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Pilot program screens babies for congenital heart disease

Thursday - 2/14/2013, 4:18am  ET

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Six Virginia hospitals are part of a pilot project to screen newborns for critical congenital heart disease.

The Virginia Department of Health says project follows an executive order from Gov. Bob McDonnell to develop a plan to implement screening.

Officials say that congenital heart defects affect about one in every 110 babies in the U.S. About two of every 1,000 babies have more serious forms of heart disease that can cause serious illness or even death if not found quickly.

Babies are screened using a sensor that measures the amount of oxygen in the baby's blood.

The hospitals participating in the project during the first year: Augusta Health, Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Rockingham Memorial Hospital, University of Virginia Health System, Virginia Baptist Hospital in Lynchburg, and Winchester Medical Center.


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