MISSION VIEJO, Calif. (August 21, 2013) -- A California law that took effect
July 1 requiring heart screening tests for all newborns recently helped
save the life of an Orange County baby at
Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo.
"We're so very grateful that Mission Hospital did the test because
otherwise Carlee might not be alive today," said Lori Cook, mother
of Carlee Cook, who is now five weeks old. "They did the test three
times and she failed the test each time. If not for the test we very likely
could have brought her home and she might have died."
Born nine days after the law went into effect, Carlee is one of the first
babies in the state to benefit from the newborn heart screening test.
The screening found a problem with her heart, which led to additional
testing. A few days later, Carlee underwent heart surgery at nearby
Children's Hospital of Orange County. Because Carlee's condition was quickly diagnosed and treated as a
result of the screening, she is expected to fully recover. She's now
home in Ladera Ranch with her four siblings, her mother and her father, Tyler.
"We are extremely pleased that the new heart screening test is already
making a positive impact on our patients," said pediatrician Lauren
Dwinell, MD, co-chair of Mission Hospital Women's & Infant Services.
"While the types of heart problems that this test is designed to
find are very rare, this new test will certainly have a tremendous impact
on babies like Carlee."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 300 infants
born with an unrecognized critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) and
are discharged each year from hospitals throughout the nation. The screening,
a simple, inexpensive bedside test, determines the amount of oxygen in
a baby's blood and the baby's pulse rate using a pulse oximeter.
Low levels of oxygen in the blood can be a sign of a CCHD. Sensors are
placed on the baby's skin and the painless test takes only a few minutes.
Screening is administered when a baby is 24 to 48 hours old.
March of Dimes sponsored the new law through Assembly Bill 1731, which was presented
by Assembly Member Marty Block (D – San Diego.)
"March of Dimes has a long history advocating for newborn screening
tests," said Justin Garrett, March of Dimes California State Director
of Advocacy and Government Affairs. "We're thrilled that baby
Carlee and the Cook family experienced a successful outcome from her early
identification and subsequent heart surgery."