Pulse oximetry screening in the well-baby nursery

Pulse oximetry screening for the detection of critical congenital heart disease was implemented in a community hospital. Infants admitted to the well-baby nursery were screened with pulse oximetry at the time of newborn metabolic screening. Oxygen saturation readings in the right hand and right foot of > 95% and a < 3% difference between the two readings constituted a ‘pass’ for the screening.  Nearly 7000 infants were screened, of which one was ultimately detected to have critical congenital heart disease (anomalous drainage of the superior vena cava to the left atrium). Four other infants were detected to have non-critical congenital heart disease. The time taken for screening was, on average, 3.5 minutes, although it sometimes took up to 35 minutes per baby.

Feasibility of implementing pulse oximetry screening for congenital heart disease in a community hospital. Bradshaw et al, 2012