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Pulse oximetry detects newborns with life-threatening conditions before discharge from hospital
  1. Gerard R Martin
  1. Center for Heart, Lung and Kidney Disease, Children's National Hospital and The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gerard R Martin, Center for Heart, Lung and Kidney Disease, Children's National Hospital and The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC 20005, USA; GMARTIN{at}childrensnational.org

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‘Temporal trends in routine predischarge pulse oximetry screening: 6 years’ experience in a UK regional neonatal unit’ is yet another important publication on the value of this newborn screening test by the team from Birmingham. They set clear goals to evaluate the impact of pulse oximetry screening (POS) in their neonatal unit and to compare the impact with their previous 3-year experience. Additionally, they aimed to address the concerns of the National Screening Committee (NSC), which has not yet recommended routine use of POS in the UK.

At the Birmingham Women’s Hospital (BWH), POS continues to detect newborns with critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) not detected by antenatal testing prior to discharge from the hospital. Additionally, they have had no newborns suffer cardiovascular collapse from CCHD or other conditions detected by POS on their postnatal ward prior to discharge. They have also shown that with experience, improvements in POS are possible. Since their first series, the number of positive screens in healthy admissions (no disease) has decreased from 21% to 2.4% of the total test positive newborns and the CCHD detection rate has increased from 94% to 98.7%.

Our team recently published a manuscript demonstrating the value of POS at Holy Cross Hospital (HCH), a community hospital in Maryland.1 We showed similar results in detecting newborns with CCHD before discharge from the postnatal ward, but differences in the screening algorithm resulted in different rates of test positive cases and a different spectrum of diagnoses. The ‘best’ algorithm for …

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Footnotes

  • Funding The author has not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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