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    March of Dimes Volunteers Advocate for Improved Newborn Screening

    Breana Lipscomb, Director of Program Services, March of Dimes, 803-403-8522, BLipscomb@marchofdimes.com

    Columbia, SC, May 15, 2013 —

    On May 14, 2013, March of Dimes volunteers gathered at the State House grounds to advocate for adding a screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) to South Carolina’s newborn screening panel.

     

    Congenital heart disease is a problem with the heart’s structure and/or function which is present at birth. Critical congenital heart disease means that the defect causes severe, life-threatening symptoms and requires intervention (e.g. medical treatment or surgery) within the first few hours, days or months of life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4,800 infants are born each year with CCHD.

     

    CCHD can be identified using a non-invasive and painless method called pulse oximetry screening which measures the percent of oxygen saturation of hemoglobin in the arterial blood through a sensor that is attached to the baby’s finger or foot. The screening would be done before the infant is discharged from the hospital or birthing center.

     

    March of Dimes supports newborn screening for conditions and disorders for which there is a documented medical benefit to the affected infant from early detection and treatment. Currently South Carolina screens for 31 conditions. Adding CCHD to the screening panel would ensure that an infant does not go home undiagnosed with this life-threatening condition.

     

    To join the March of Dimes Advocacy Network, contact Breana Lipscomb, Director of Program Services 803-403-8522 or BLipscomb@marchofdimes.com.

     

    The March of Dimes advocacy agenda focuses on public policies and programs that relate to the Foundation's mission—improving the health of babies. The South Carolina Chapter has chosen newborn screening and increased access to health care as its main priorities for 2013.

    Each year, the South Carolina Chapter of the March of Dimes invests in mission initiatives statewide, including research grants and local community programs. Through these program services, the March of Dimes continues to strive to prevent birth defects and infant death, reduce South Carolina’s premature birth rate, increase access to prenatal care and educate men and women about having healthy babies. Premature birth touches half a million babies and their families every year including nearly 9,000 babies in South Carolina each year.

     

    In 2013, the March of Dimes celebrates its 75th Anniversary and its ongoing work to help babies get a healthy start in life.  Early research led to the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines that all babies still receive.  Other breakthroughs include new treatments for premature infants and children with birth defects.  About four million babies are born each year in the United States, and all have benefitted from March of Dimes lifesaving research and education. For more information visit marchofdimes.com/southcarolina and find us on Facebook and Twitter .

    ***

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