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Congenit Heart Dis. 2012 Sep-Oct;7(5):460-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-0803.2012.00651.x. Epub 2012 Apr 12.

Pulse oximetry screening in Wisconsin.

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Department of Pediatrics, American Family Children' s Hospital, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI 53792-4108, USA.



Pulse oximetry can be used as a screening tool to detect critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) in neonates prior to hospital discharge and the development of symptoms. Newborns suspected of having CCHD based on pulse oximetry screening should have the diagnosis excluded or confirmed with echocardiography. However, echocardiography is not immediately available in all settings in which newborns are delivered and the best course of action in these settings remains to be determined. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the resources available to diagnose and treat newborns with CCHD born in the state of Wisconsin.


We surveyed the nurse managers or administrators of the 99 Wisconsin hospitals in which babies are routinely delivered in the state of Wisconsin. A telephone survey was performed in February and March 2011. The number of births per facility was estimated from the most recent available data (2010).


There were 66 179 total births occurring in 106 hospitals in the state of Wisconsin in 2010, with 99 hospitals routinely delivering newborns. Surveys were completed in 88/99 (88.9%), representing 95% of the state's in-hospital births. All responding hospitals had pulse oximetry available in the nursery. Twenty-five of 88 (28.4%) of responding hospitals routinely use pulse oximetry to screen for CCHD, representing 35.2% of surveyed hospital births. Same-day neonatal echocardiography was available at 33/88 (37.5%) of the responding hospitals, representing 74.4% of surveyed hospital births. The average distance to the higher-level care facility of choice from the hospitals without neonatal echocardiography is 53.1 miles.


Pulse oximetry is universally available in Wisconsin newborn nurseries, and pulse oximetry screening for CCHD is currently being performed for many of Wisconsin's newborns. The majority of births in Wisconsin occur in hospitals where same-day neonatal echocardiography is available for confirmatory diagnosis of CCHD when necessary.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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