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Study shows Pulse Oximetry testing has saved lives

You may recall a particularly touching campaign we undertook in 2015: we set out to pass a bill that would ensure every newborn in Washington would be screened for critical congenital heart defects (CCHD).

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Congenital heart defects occur in nearly 1 in 100 births and are the most common cause of infant death. In some cases, outwardly healthy infants may be discharged from hospitals before signs of disease are detected, and a missed diagnosis can turn tragic. Fortunately, there is a non-invasive, reliable screening tool that can be used before families even leave the hospital: pulse oximetry. And in 2015 we were successful in passing a bill to ensure every infant in Washington state is screened for CCHD.

Not only has Washington taken this lifesaving step, but 46 other states as well, and research published earlier this month confirmed that mandatory screening for CCHD using pulse oximetry does indeed save lives. The authors looked at states with mandatory screening policies from 2007 to 2013. They found a 33% decline in infant death from CCHD in those states with mandatory screening.

Each American Heart Association policy position is rooted in science. How rewarding it is to see scientific evidence continue to underscore the effectiveness and need for policy we have promoted. Thank you all for your support on this, and our many other campaigns.  

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