Pulse-ox Screening: New Key findings

The Pediatric Congenital Heart Association supports early detection of critical congenital heart disease, including CCHD screening through the use of pulse-oximetry.

The journal Pediatrics has published a new study estimating the number of infants with critical congenital heart defects (critical CHDs) potentially detected or missed through universal screening for critical CHDs using pulse oximetry. CDC researchers estimated that about 1,755 infants with critical CHDs would be diagnosed late (meaning on or after the third day after birth). Of these, about half (875 infants) with a critical CHD would be detected through newborn screening using pulse oximetry, but an equal number (880 infants) might still be missed each year in the United States.

These findings indicate that current CCHD screening efforts work, but are far from perfect and there is much work that remains to be done.  Many kids will still be missed.  We cannot rest comfortably with the passage of regulation, we must continue to push for improved screening efforts.  Parents and pediatricians cannot assume a child does not have a CCHD just because the screening was “normal.”

A summary of key findings can be found here or read the paper’s abstract here.

Pulse Ox - Image by Massimo

Image by Massimo – all rights reserved