The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

December 30, 2013

Missouri to screen all newborns for heart defects

Missouri is preparing to start screening every newborn baby for congenital heart defects, although local medical personnel say they already have added the test to their list of checkup procedures for infants.

The screenings for critical congenital heart disease, an umbrella term for any number of heart defects that can cause developmental delays or death if left untreated, will be required under a new state law that takes effect Wednesday.

A congenital heart defect is a problem with the structure of the heart that is present at birth. There are no particular risk factors. Anyone can have a child who is born with a defect, according to the American Heart Association.

Out of every 1,000 births, nine babies are born with a congenital heart disorder, most of which are mild, the association said.

Many children born with heart defects don’t need treatment, but the most severe cases can require catheter procedures, surgery or heart transplants, according to the National Institutes of Health. Signs of severe defects in newborns include rapid breathing, fatigue, a blue tint to the skin and poor blood circulation, although many defects cause few or no symptoms at all, the agency said.

Those who work in pediatrics in Joplin said the new law won’t affect them, as they already have implemented the screenings — in some cases, more than a year ago — under guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association.

The screening is conducted on babies who are at least 24 hours old, usually right before they are set to go home with their parents, said Rhonda Olvera, a pediatric nurse practitioner with Mercy Pediatrics in Carthage.

The noninvasive test consists of wrapping a device around the baby’s limbs to measure the oxygen saturation of the blood, she said. Any abnormal readings could suggest a heart problem, she said.

More severe diagnoses, Olvera said, include hypoplastic left heart syndrome (a rare defect in which the left side of the heart is critically underdeveloped, according to the Mayo Clinic) and tetralogy of Fallot (a rare combination of defects that causes oxygen-poor blood to flow out of the heart, the clinic said). Early diagnosis of these defects could reduce the risk of serious illness or death of the child later in life, Olvera said.

Paul Petry, a pediatrician with Freeman Health System, said the test is designed to be only an indicator of whether further testing is necessary.

“The test itself is just a screening test, which means we have to do other tests to have a definitive diagnosis,” Petry said. “It’s just one more tool we use to make sure the baby is OK to go home.”

The state Department of Health and Senior Services said an estimated 140 babies are born in Missouri each year with a congenital heart defect. Department officials hope the tests will prevent babies from being sent home with the risk of developing serious complications in the first few weeks of life.

In addition to Missouri, more than 30 other states have added critical congenital heart disease to the list of disorders for which newborns are screened. Newborns in the state are also routinely screened for cystic fibrosis, thyroid problems, their hearing and a number of metabolic disorders.

The new law is named for 5-year-old Chloe Manz, a Kansas City-area girl who was born in 2008 with a rare congenital heart defect that was discovered through a screening just nine hours after her birth; the screening was not mandatory at that time.

Efforts to enact the law over the past four years were spearheaded by Chloe’s mother, Kelly Manz.

“It still haunts me to this day — the thought that we would’ve been sent home with Chloe and her four undetected heart defects, and who knows what would have happened?” Manz wrote on her website in May, shortly before the law was signed by the governor. “It’s actually a comfort knowing that all Missouri hospitals will be adding this easy, painless, fast and life-saving screening to their list.”

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS contributed to this report.

Nationwide

CONGENITAL HEART DEFECTS are the most common type of birth defect, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thanks to advanced methods of diagnosis and treatment, individuals who are born with a heart defect are living longer than ever. An estimated 1 million adults in the U.S. are living with a congenital heart defect, the CDC said.

1
Text Only
Top Stories
  • r041514recycledfashion.jpg Joplin High School students to model ‘recycled’ dresses at fashion show

    Audrey Kaman will walk the runway later this week wearing a dress she designed herself — made out of 250 doilies. “I’d say it’s a fun dress,” the Joplin High School sophomore said. “It’s not really elegant because it’s short, but it’s cute.”

    April 15, 2014 4 Photos

  • Shooter in Joplin murder sentenced to life in prison

    The teen convicted of being the triggerman in the murder of Jacob Wages was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison with the possibility of parole. At a hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin, Circuit Judge Gayle Crane followed a jury’s recommendations in assessing Daniel D. Hartman, 18, two life sentences on convictions for second-degree murder and armed criminal action, and 15 years on a conviction for burglary.

    April 15, 2014

  • Interchange construction work near Carterville to create safer off-ramp

    As the Missouri Department of Transportation begins rebuilding eastbound ramps at the Missouri Highway 171 and Route HH interchange near Carterville this week, drivers can expect ramp and occasional lane closures. The $1.5 million project, funded by the state, will increase the distance between ramps for drivers traveling northbound on Highway 249 and exiting eastbound to Highway 171.

    April 15, 2014

  • Schreiber Foods schedules Carthage plant expansion

    Plans to expand a Schreiber Foods plant to eventually add 160 new jobs have been endorsed by a Carthage committee working with the company. Andrew Tobish, director of combinations for Schreiber, which is based in Green Bay, Wis., confirmed the project, which he said would be complete by late spring or early summer in 2015.

    April 15, 2014

  • 3 To Get Ready

    Three things coming your way in Wednesday’s paper.

    April 15, 2014

  • Local Jews offer reactions to Overland Park shooting

    Jews in Joplin and throughout the region are struggling to come to terms with Sunday’s shooting at a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement complex in suburban Kansas City, resulting in three deaths. The suspect has been identified as Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, of Aurora.

    April 14, 2014

  • Suspect in Kansas shooting has long history as white supremacist

    Frazier Glenn Cross drew the ire of Joplin residents in 2006 when several hundred copies of his white supremacist newspaper were landing on lawns in the city. The White Patriot Leader spouted the usual Cross diatribe. A race war was imminent. The “newspaper for white Americans,” as it billed itself, ranted against an invasion of the country by illegal Hispanic immigrants, the proliferation of black culture, and a purported takeover of the government, banks and the media by Jews.

    April 14, 2014

  • r041414wildwood.jpg Opening of nursing home another recovery milestone

    Gladys Dutton has done a lot of things in her life, but Monday’s dedication of the Communities at Wildwood Ranch nursing home marked a first. “I’ve never cut a ribbon before,” she said. “I hope I do a good job.” Dutton was one of four residents to participate in the opening of the $8.5 million nursing center that eventually will be home to 120 people.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mike Seibert elected new mayor of Joplin

    Joplin’s new mayor pledged Monday night that the city will operate with more transparency and that work toward redevelopment will be the City Council’s priority. Mike Seibert, who withstood a challenge by another incumbent councilman in last Tuesday’s election to be the Zone 4 councilman, was elected mayor by a unanimous vote of the panel Monday night.

    April 14, 2014

  • 3 To Get Ready

    Members of the new Joplin City Council, in the wake of the April 8 election and turmoil that roiled to the surface last August, will elect a mayor and mayor pro tem. Read all of the details.

    April 14, 2014