Pulse oximetry screening saves precious lives

Updated:Aug 12,2013

Alaska Pulse OxThanks to our You’re The Cure volunteers and advocates, pulse oximetry screening of newborns has become law in five states in our affiliate -- Alaska, California, Nevada, Oregon and Utah. The lifesaving test involves a sensor placed on a baby’s hand and foot to check blood oxygen levels. Research suggests that wider implementation of this screening could help identify over 90 percent of heart defects.
Congenital heart defects (CHD) are a leading cause of birth-defect related deaths in the U.S. One in 125 newborns is born with a CHD and these infants require immediate intervention --within the first few hours, days or months of life. The pulse oximetry test is estimated to cost less than $5 per infant, cheaper than the cost of a hospital diaper change.
Across the nation, American Heart Association advocates have led the way in influencing passage of laws and regulations requiring pulse oximetry screening in 20 states. We are proud the Western States Affiliate played a major role in the passage of one-quarter of those laws and salute our advocates continuing to work diligently on pulse oximetry screening in other areas.
Thanks to all of you – precious lives are being saved every day.