Newborns in UAE to be screened for cardiac defects
Dubai - The procedure will be performed in just three minutes within 24 hours of birth.
Babies born at nine hospitals of the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) will be screened for critical congenital heart diseases (CCHD).
The system has already been implemented in hospitals and will be fully operational by July 15, a senior official told Khaleej Times.
The procedure will be performed in just three minutes within 24 hours of birth and will be crucial in reducing infant mortality and morbidity in babies with heart malformations. In the long term, it will ease the financial, social and psychological burden on patients and their families owing to the prohibitive costs of heart surgeries.
The ministry has equipped nine hospitals across five emirates with a new technology called Eve. It is the first large-scale worldwide installation of Eve on Rad-97 Pulse CO-Oximeters from MASIMO which will be used to perform the checks.
Dr Kalthoom Mohammed, director for hospitals department, said there currently there are no statistics on the number of such cases.
"All cases will not come to the ministry even if detected at a later stage so we cannot talk about numbers now," she said, adding that in six months' time, there will be clarity.
Each hospital has been equipped with the new generation pulse Oximeter to detect cardiac malformations. A new smart app has also been developed to help health professionals' record information and data of children with congenital heart defects, so as to create a standardised database and put in place clinical performance indicators to track the progress of the programme, she said. The personnel have also been trained.
The programme was inaugurated by Dr Yousif Mohammed Al Serkal, assistant undersecretary of the hospitals sector. He said that the 'Newborn Critical Congenital Heart Screening Programme' is to ensure that all UAE newborns are screened and all affected infants receive appropriate confirmatory testing, counselling, and treatment.
He added that the ministry will also set up a database of children with congenital heart defects and develop clinical performance indicators to monitor the progress of the programme.
The CCHD in neonates has been integrated to the healthcare technology system (Wareed) to establish an electronic record, automated order sets and treatment plan according to latest international recommendation.
The programme has already been implemented in the United States, Sweden, Germany and Denmark.
Global statistics indicate that congenital heart disease is a common birth defect, affecting approximately eight new births per 1,000 live births. Failure to detect critical congenital heart disease can lead to critical complications that threaten the patient's life.