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New Heart Disease Screening Offered to Newborns at Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth
02/13/2012

FORT WORTH, Texas — A new, simple health screening for babies born at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth may help save little lives and give parents peace of mind.

Starting last month, newborns at the hospital now receive screening for critical congenital heart disease, one of the most common types of birth defects, in addition to standard health screenings. About 4,800 babies born each year in the United States have a critical congenital heart defect, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Babies with critical congenital heart disease can appear perfectly healthy in the hospital since symptoms often don’t appear for days after birth, said Dr. Mary Frances Lynch, neonatologist on the medical staff at Texas Health Fort Worth. If left undetected, infants can develop shock and die suddenly.

“If we can catch critical congenital heart disease early, surgery can be performed to help stabilize the baby’s heart before he or she becomes sick,” Lynch said. “Doing this preventive screening for our babies is the right thing to do.”

Doctors use a simple bedside test called pulse oximetry to determine whether a baby is at risk for critical congenital heart disease. The screening is performed when a baby is 24 to 48 hours old, is painless and takes only a few minutes. Sensors placed on the baby’s skin read the amount of oxygen in the blood and pulse rate. Low levels of oxygen in the blood can signal a potential heart problem and the need for additional testing.

For more information on the hospital’s women and infants services, visit TexasHealth.org/FortWorth.

About Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth is 726-bed, Magnet-designated regional referral center that has served the residents of Tarrant County since 1930. The hospital’s services include cardiovascular services, high-risk and routine obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics and sports medicine, neonatal intensive care, and trauma/emergency medicine. Texas Health Fort Worth is also home to the 100-bed Texas Health Harris Methodist Heart Center. An affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, Texas Health Fort Worth has more than 4,000 employees, 200 volunteers and nearly 1,000 physicians practicing on the medical staff. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org/FortWorth.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems in the United States. The health system includes 24 acute care and short-stay hospitals that are owned, operated, joint-ventured or affiliated with Texas Health Resources. It includes the Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Arlington Memorial and Texas Health Harris Methodist hospitals, a large physician group, outpatient facilities, and home health, preventive and fitness services, and an organization for medical research and education.

For more information about Texas Health Resources, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org.

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