, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 203-204
Date: 21 Nov 2012

Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease: A Matter of Sensitivity

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To the Editor

It is with great interest that we read the letter by Dummula and Pandey [2] regarding the recent article entitled “False-Negative Pulse Oximetry Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease: The Case for Parent Education” [1]. Although much attention has been focused on children with a positive result (i.e., those who fail screening), little is known regarding children with a negative result (i.e., those who pass screening), particularly those with a false-negative result.

However, we wish to comment on a potential misconception regarding screening. In their letter, Dummula and Pandey urge the American Academy of Pediatrics “to mandate that nurseries document the cardiac conditions specifically ruled out by virtue of a negative screen on every discharge summary.” They suggest that pulse oximetry screening for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) should be used to rule out the possibility of a child having certain types of CCHD due to the high specificity of the test.