Congenital heart disease
The UK NSC policy on Congenital heart disease screening in newborns
|Last review completed
|Next review due in
|| Systematic population screening programme recommended
Congenital heart disease screening is part of the physical examination of newborn babies and again at 6-8 weeks.
The UK NSC recommends piloting the use of pulse oximetry test to evaluate the potential benefits of its use as a new screening test for congenital heart disease.
|| Last external review | Last policy review summary
What is screening?
Screening is a process of identifying apparently healthy people who may be at increased risk of a disease or condition. They can then be offered information, further tests and appropriate treatment to reduce their risk and/or any complications arising from the disease or condition.
It is important to ensure that the benefits and downsides of screening have been properly thought through. The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) is responsible for reviewing screening policies every 3 years and making recommendations to ministers in the 4 UK countries about whether to not a screening programme for a certain condition should be set up.
» Find out more about screening, the role of the UK NSC or the policy review process
More about Congenital heart disease
Congenital heart defects (CHDs) affect about 8 in 1000 (approx. 1%) newborn babies. CHDs cover a wide range of problems of the heart. Some defects resolve by themselves and more severe defects require urgent treatment. In the vast majority of cases the cause of the problem is not known. In families where there is an affected child there is usually only a slight increase in risk with future pregnancies of around 3%. In some families with a recognised genetic cause, the risk of recurrent heart problems in future pregnancy is much higher.
A number of frequently asked questions have been developed following the last review in 2014.
Screening in the UK
Compare how screening is offered across the UK.
• British Congenital Cardiac Association
• British Heart Foundation
• Children's Heart Federation
• Royal College of Nursing
• Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
• Royal College of Surgeons
• Tiny Tickers
The stakeholder groups will be involved when the policy is next reviewed.
If you think your organisation should be added, please
More about the policy review process, including the role of stakeholders,
can be found in the guide to Engaging with the UK NSC's policy review process.
Consultation responses from indiv (PDF document, 641KB, 06/05/14)
Consultation responses from orgs. (PDF document, 1.12MB, 06/05/14)
Consultation responses linked to CHFed campaign (PDF document, 1.16MB, 06/05/14)
Cover Sheet and Survey Responses (PDF document, 382KB, 06/05/14)
Pulse Ox. Frequently Asked Questions (PDF document, 164KB, 06/05/14)
More optionsGo to top