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Congenital heart disease (policy currently under review)

The UK NSC policy on Congenital heart disease screening in newborns



This policy is currently being reviewed as part of the UK NSC's regular review cycle of all policies.

The review process began in Sep 2013 and is estimated to be completed by Mar 2014.

Type Newborn
Previous policy
Systematic population screening programme recommended

Congenital heart disease screening is part of the physical examination of newborn babies and again at 6-8 weeks.


A Programme Centre has been set up in England and all aspects of the examination are being reviewed.

Key downloads Last external review

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 anomalies affect about 8 in 1000 (approx. 1%) new born babies. In the vast majority of cases the cause of the anomaly 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.

» Read more about congenital heart disease on the Contact a Family website

Screening in the UK

Compare how screening is offered across the UK.

Policy stakeholders

British Congenital Cardiac Association
British Heart Foundation
Children's Heart Federation
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Midwives
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 contact us. 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.

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