The General Assembly of Pennsylvania recently passed a bill to mandate pulse oximetry testing in newborns. Pulse oximetry is a noninvasive test that measures oxygen saturation in the bloodstream and can help diagnose congenital heart disease or defects.
According to the CDC, structural heart defects often are associated with low oxygen levels in the bloodstream among newborns. Typically, it says, these babies require some type of intervention, usually surgery.
Without screening, issues with some newborns with heart disease might be missed because the signs of disease or defects might not be evident before an infant is discharged from the hospital, it said. Infants with heart disease or defects are at “significant” risk for illness or death because of physiological changes that develop, CDC said.
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