Pulse Oximetry Screening
|Learn more about pulse oximetry screening from Dr. Berger.|
Pulse oximetry screening is a non-invasive test measuring the amount of oxygen in the blood through a small sensor (similar to an adhesive bandage) taped to finger or toe. The test is inexpensive and is an effective way to screen for many types of congenital heart disease (CHD) in newborns that may otherwise go undetected by current screening methods.
CHD is the most common serious birth defect and affects approximately 8 in 1,000 newborns. Some CHDs are critical and require treatment within the first days or weeks of life. Current methods for detecting CHD include prenatal ultrasound and physical examinations. These screenings alone identify less than half of all cases, and critical heart defects are often missed during routine exams performed prior to the newborn being discharged.
Currently in Wisconsin, just over 85 percent of babies are given the pulse ox screening before they go home from the hospital. The state does not mandate this test so some babies are discharged without ever receiving the test. Children's Hospital of Wisconsin aims to have 100 percent of babies born in Wisconsin be pulse ox screened.
Screening newborns for CHD using pulse ox:
- Is simple: The non-invasive test that provides a measurement of oxygen levels within 30 to 60 seconds.
- Early detection: Early detection of a CHD leads to early treatment, better results for families and lower overall health care costs.
- Saves lives: If a physician is alerted to potential problem the baby is referred to pediatric cardiologists who specialize in treating babies with CHD.
In 2012, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Research Institute and the University of Wisconsin received a three-year federal grant, known as the Wisconsin Screening Hearts In Newborns (SHINE) project, to review the effectiveness and cost of implementing the pulse ox screening in all birthing hospitals, centers and home deliveries. Data collected from this study will provide data on the pulse ox screening's impact for detecting CHD in babies born in Wisconsin.
For additional information about the pulse ox screening visit: