Critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) is a common birth defect found in newborn babies that could be life-threatening and requires intervention in infancy.

Screening for CCHD in newborn babies is now possible in the UAE in nine hospitals across five emirates, where the Ministry of Health and Prevention is equipping a new technology called Eve, a critical CCHD newborn screening application, as a part of their new programme. It is the first large-scale global installation of Eve.

The early examination process takes only three minutes and is done within 24 hours of delivery using the latest international devices. Dr Yousif Mohammed Al Serkal, assistant undersecretary of the hospitals’ sector said, ‘The program is crucial in reducing infant mortality and morbidity in babies with heart malformations. It will ease the financial, social and psychological burden on patients and their families owing to the prohibitive costs of heart surgeries,’ he says.

Approximately eight out of every 1,000 babies are born with a CCHD, the ministry said, citing global statistics. Failure to detect critical congenital heart disease can lead to critical complications that threaten the patient’s life.