References

Ewer AK, Deshpande SA, Gale C, Stenson BJ, Upton M, Evans C, Oddie SJ. Potential benefits and harms of universal newborn pulse oximetry screening: response to the UK National Screening Committee public consultation.. Archives of Disease in Childhood. 2019; https://doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2019-317859

Public Health England. Screening tests for you and your baby.. 2019. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/screening-tests-for-you-and-your-baby-description-in-brief (accessed 6 January 2020)

Plana MN, Zamora J, Suresh G, Fernandez-Pineda L, Thangaratinam S, Ewer AK. Pulse oximetry screening for critical congenital heart defects.. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2018; https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD011912.pub2

Valmari P. Should pulse oximetry be used to screen for congenital heart disease? Archives of Disease in Childhood Fetal and Neonatal Edition.. 2007; 92:F219-F224 https://doi.org/10.1136/adc.2005.090282

UK National Screening Committee. Newborn screening for critical congenital heart disease and significant non-cardiac conditions related to hypoxaemia using pulse oximetry screening.. 2019a. https://legacyscreening.phe.org.uk/screening-recommendations.php (accessed 6 January 2020)

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Pulse oximetry screening

02 February 2020
3 min read
 Pulse oximetry screening is an accurate way of determining how much oxygen is in a newborn's blood stream
Volume 28 · Issue 2

Abstract

George F Winter weighs in on pulse oximetry screening as an effective method of testing for critical congenital heart defects in newborns

Critical congenital heart defects (CCHDs) affect around 2 in 1 000 newborns, and babies with CCHD often have low blood oxygen concentrations, which can be measured by non-invasive pulse oximetry (PO) using a sensor placed on the newborn's hand or foot (Plana et al, 2018). The earliest reports of PO screening were published in 1995 (Valmari, 2007) and a Cochrane review of 436 758 participants from 19 studies showed that PO screening is highly specific, moderately sensitive and has a low false-positive rate, prompting the conclusion that ‘[c]urrent evidence supports the introduction of routine screening for CCHD in asymptomatic newborns before discharge from the well-baby nursery’ (Plana et al, 2018).

Yet a Public Health England ([PHE], 2019) patient information leaflet – last updated on 5 September 2019 – makes no mention of PO. An explanation is provided by the UK National Screening Committee (NSC), which advises ministers and the NHS in the four UK countries on population screening and helps to implement screening programmes.

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