Evaluation of Pulse Oximetry in the Early Detection of Cyanotic Congenital Heart Disease in Newborns

Amir Hosein Movahedian, Ziba Mosayebi, Setareh Sagheb
Journal of Tehran Heart Center 2016 April 13, 11 (2): 73-78
Background: Delayed or missed diagnosis of critical and cyanotic congenital heart disease (CHD) in asymptomatic newborns may result in significant morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study was to determine the accuracy of pulse oximetry screening performed on the first day of life for the early detection of critical and cyanotic CHD in apparently normal newborns. Methods: This cross-sectional study used postductal pulse oximetry to evaluate term neonates born between 2008 and 2011 with normal physical examinations. Functional oxygen saturation < 95% was considered abnormal, and second measurement was done 2 hours later. If the second measurement remained < 95%, an echocardiogram was performed. On enrolment in the study, the following data for each neonate were recorded: gestational age, gender, birth weight, mode of delivery, and mother's age. Results: During the study period, totally 3,846 newborns were evaluated. Of the whole study population, 304 (7.9%) babies had a postductal functional saturation < 95%. The second measurement was also < 95% in 104 (2.7%) neonates. The mean age of the neonates at the time of pulse oximetry was 18.91 ± 8.61 (min = 4.5 and max = 49) hours. Forty-nine percent of the subjects were female and 51% were male. Echocardiography was performed on 81 out of 104 newborns, and 14 (0.36%) of them had CHD. The types of CHD in our patients were tetralogy of Fallot (3 cases), transposition of the great vessels (2 cases), double-outlet right ventricle (2 cases), truncus arteriosus, total anomalous pulmonary venous return, atrioventricular septal defect, pulmonary atresia, persistent pulmonary hypertension, ventricular septal defect, and atrial septal defect (1 case for each type). The best time for pulse oximetry was within 8-24 hours of the newborns' life. Conclusion: Pulse oximetry screening along with clinical examination may be able to assist in the early detection of critical and cyanotic CHD in asymptomatic newborns.

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