New parents often have questions about screening tests done on their babies. Click below for answers to some of the most common questions about pulse oximetry screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease. If you have questions that are not answered here, or if you would like more information about this screen, please ask your medical care provider or contact the Wisconsin SHINE Project.
Answers to Common Questions from Families
No. Pulse oximetry is most useful in detecting heart defects with which a baby can look entirely well a day after birth and become very ill within the next few days. The heart defects that are most likely to cause serious congenital heart disease and are detectable by pulse oximetry are:
- Hypoplastic Left Heart Disease,
- Pulmonary Atresia,
- Tetrology of Fallot,
- Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR),
- Transposition of the Great Arteries,
- Tricuspid Atresia and Truncus Arteriousus.
Heart Defects that are also likely to cause serious congenital heart disease in babies and are also detectable by pulse oximetry include:
No. Most babies with CCHD will be diagnosed by prenatal ultrasound or by physical exam after birth. Pulse oximetry serves as one additional method of catching the 1 or 2% of babies with critical congenital heart disease that aren’t detected by prenatal ultrasound or newborn physical examination.
Pulse oximetry screening for CCHD is performed in most hospitals in Wisconsin. It is not currently required by law, but legislation has been proposed in the Wisconsin State Legislature that would require this screening in most situations.