Pulse Oximetry Screening

To Detect Critical Congenital Heart Disease

In the United States, critical congenital heart defects affect about 4,800 newborns each year. Babies born with a critical congenital heart defect are at significant risk for death or disability if they are not diagnosed and treated soon after birth. Congenital heart disease may be diagnosed prenatally by ultrasound; however this has been shown to be accurate in only about 25% of affected pregnancies. Likewise, discovery after birth is difficult because more than half of all infants have a normal physical exam.

Pulse oximetry is a simple, painless and affordable test that can detect critical congenital heart disease in some babies. At OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, we created an educational video discussing pulse oximetry screening. In this video, we discuss the importance of screening and offer tips for successful implementation of a screening program.

Below are links to our educational video as well as additional resources such as a simple screening algorithm and a link to the American Academy of Pediatrics article regarding implementing a screening program.