Current UK NSC recommendations > Congenital heart disease

The UK NSC recommendation on Congenital heart disease screening in newborns

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme recommended
Last review completed May 2014
Next review due in n/a
Key downloads

Evidence to support continuation or cessation of existing screening programmes should be reviewed regularly. The process for this is currently being revised, which is why this topic does not currently have a review date. The new process will be published in due course. Each programme has an active portfolio of research, evidence and audit to support continual improvement. Find out more about congenital heart disease screening, part of the newborn and infant physical examination programme in England.

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


The UK NSC recommends piloting the use of pulse oximetry test to evaluate the potential benefits of its use as a new screening test for congenital heart disease.


Find general information about population health screening.

More about Congenital heart disease

Congenital heart defects (CHDs) affect about 8 in 1000 (approx. 1%) newborn babies. CHDs cover a wide range of problems of the heart. Some defects resolve by themselves and more severe defects require urgent treatment. In the vast majority of cases the cause of the problem 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.

A number of frequently asked questions have been developed following the last review in 2014.

Read more about congenital heart disease on NHS Choices

Screening in the UK

Compare how screening is offered across the UK.


British Association of Perinatal Medicine
British Congenital Cardiac Association
British Heart Foundation
Children's Heart Federation
Faculty of Public Health
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Midwives
Royal College of Nursing
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Royal College of Surgeons
Tiny Tickers

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.

Related documents

icon Consultation responses from indiv (PDF document, 641KB, 06/05/14)
icon Consultation responses from orgs. (PDF document, 1.12MB, 06/05/14)
icon Consultation responses linked to CHFed campaign (PDF document, 1.16MB, 06/05/14)
icon Cover Sheet and Survey Responses (PDF document, 382KB, 06/05/14)
icon Pulse Ox. Frequently Asked Questions (PDF document, 164KB, 06/05/14)

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