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Pulse oximetry screening for clinically unrecognized critical congenital heart disease in the newborns

C Ruangritnamchai, W Bunjapamai, B Pongpanich
Images in Paediatric Cardiology 2007, 9 (1): 10-5
22368668

AIM: To determine the incidence of clinically unrecognized critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) in the newborns by using pulse oximetric screening.

METHODS: Pulse oximetry was performed on clinically normal newborns at 24-48 hours of age. If screening oxygen saturation (SpO(2)) was below 95%, echocardiography was then performed. Data regarding true and false positives as well as negatives were collected and analyzed.

RESULTS: Pulse-oximetric screening was performed on 1847 clinically normal newborns. Low SpO2 (<95%) was found in three babies two of them had CCHD, including one with transposition of the great vessels, one with complete atrioventricular canal with moderate tricuspid regurgitation (sensitivity: 100%; specificity: 99.8%; positive predictive value: 100%; negative predictive value: 100%; accuracy: 99.8%).

CONCLUSIONS: In addition to routine physical examination in the newborn infants pulse oximetry may improve the early diagnosis CCHD in the newborn. If oxygen saturation in clinically normal newborns is below 95% at 24-48 hours of age, referral to a cardiology unit is suggested.

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