Disease Screening in Newborns Given Boost from Federal Grant

A researcher from LA BioMed has been awarded $688,013 in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health to improve newborn infant screening. The proposal by Rie Sakai-Bizmark, MD, PhD, MPH is entitled "Newborn Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease in U.S.:  Assessment of implementation obstacles and application of cost-effectiveness to gauge if action needed for improved implementation."

Hundreds of babies die each year from undiagnosed Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD).

"Understanding obstacles to screenings and accurate diagnosis can help save the lives of hundreds of newborns each year," Sakai-Bizmark said. "As a physician and a mother, I believe it's critically important to ensure every baby born in the U.S. is properly screened for heart disease."

A quarter of newborns with CCHD are discharged from hospitals without a diagnosis, and about 40 percent of such babies die due to late or missed diagnoses. Moreover, false positives can result in unnecessary follow-up and parental anxiety. Although screening protocols are required shortly after birth, recent studies show only one-third of hospitals adhered to the recommended.  The project will evaluate why screenings aren't done, obstacles that prevent accurate screenings, and how screenings that are done can be more effective.

"Dr. Sakai-Bizmark is rapidly become a nationally respected leader in her field," said LA BioMed CEO David Meyer, PhD. "Her work investigating CCHD has the potential to save lives and fulfills LA BioMed's mission of leading health care innovation and serving the underserved."