What is Pulse Oximetry?
Pulse Oximetry (Pulse Ox) is a simple screening test that measures how much oxygen is in a baby's blood. When performed after the baby is 24 hours old (or before discharge), the test can help identify babies who may have serious heart problems before they go home.
Why is it important?
Some babies born with a heart defect can appear healthy at first and can be sent home with their families before their heart defect is detected. It has been estimated that at least 280 infants with an unrecognized Critical Congenital Heart Defect are discharged each year from newborn nurseries in the United States. These babies are at significant risk for death or disability if their CCHD is not diagnosed and treated soon after birth (Source: National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities)
Is Pulse Ox Screening mandatory in all states in the U.S.?
In September 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary�s Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children (SACHDNC) recommended that the HHS Secretary add pulse oximetry screening for CCHDs to the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel. Some states currently are developing their own policies on pulse oximetry screening for CCHDs. (Source: National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities)
What can I do to promote the use of Pulse Ox Screening in my State?
The status of mandatory Pulse Ox Screening for all newborns differs by state. The following states have already passed legislation for Newborn Screening for CCHD:
If you would like to lend your energy and your voice to this life-saving effort, contact your state offices of March of Dimes and Advocacy Contacts at American Heart Association . You may also contact the Parent Advocates listed below:
Where can I get more information?