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  1. Martin Ward Platt, Associate editor

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This issue leads with four papers on healthy babies, term and preterm. In the first of these, the use of pulse oximetry is evaluated as an adjunct to the neonatal examination. But why measure oxygen saturation in otherwise healthy term babies? Richmond et al make a persuasive case. In their hands, oximetry provided early warning of subclinical hypoxaemia, with its implications for congenital heart disease and other neonatal diseases, in a small number of apparently normal, healthy babies. It appeared to be acceptable to parents, 99.9% of whom consented to participation in the study, and they achieved an impressive 98% coverage of inborn babies. Like the authors, readers will be disappointed that the sensitivity for picking up babies who turned out to have aortic coarctation was only three out of six; but given the wide confidence intervals of this observation, it will be important to know how oximetry fares among a larger number of babies with coarctation. This is exciting preliminary work, which is continuing on a larger …

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