A neonate with critical congenital heart disease

Jarrett Linder*, Emily Dawson, Paula Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) is defined as a ductal-dependent congenital heart defect requiring surgical or percutaneous intervention via cardiac catheterization before 1 year of age. Most cases of CCHD can be diagnosed with prenatal ultrasound or fetal echocardiogram. If not prenatally diagnosed, CCHD can be stable in the newborn nursery due to persistent ductal patency, and the patient may only be diagnosed after ductal closure and development of cardiac symptoms at home. In this case, a 6-day-old female presented to the emergency department (ED) floppy with agonal respirations, poor capillary refill, and absent femoral pulses. On the day of presentation, the patient became increasingly fussy, refused feeding, and began to gasp. The patient was transported to the ED for evaluation, where a bedside echocardiogram revealed interrupted aortic arch (IAA), ventricular septal defect, minimal flow through a thread-like ductus arteriosus, and severely depressed cardiac function. IAA is very rare, with an incidence of three cases per 1 million live births. Patients require neonatal supportive care, continuous prostaglandin E1 infusion, and urgent referral for neonatal surgical repair in the first days to weeks of life. To reduce the volume of undiagnosed CCHD in the immediate newborn period, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary's Advisory Committee on Heritable Diseases in Newborns and Children (SACHDNC) recommended that CCHD screening via pulse oximetry be added to the recommended uniform screening panel. A positive screen results in an immediate referral for an echocardiogram. Fetal diagnosis, newborn screening, and/or careful clinical examination may have resulted in detection of IAA in our patient prior to ductal closure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e106-e110
JournalPediatric annals
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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