Gwinnett Medical Centerâ€™s (GMC) Womenâ€™s Pavilion recently announced the addition of pulse oximetry testing for infants. The new test, which measures the oxygen levels within the blood, helps doctors detect most of the critical congential heart defects. Such defects can go unnoticed if otherwise not tested.
â€œIt is well known that approximately eight in 1,000 live births in Georgia have a congential heart defects,â€ said Shiva Sharma, MD, a pediatric cardiologist. â€œOf those, approximately 25 percent have a life threatening critical congenital defect. These critical congenital heart defects require early detection and timely intervention to prevent severe morbidity and even mortality that is seen in these babies with delayed diagnosis.”
According to Dr. Sharma, the painless, simple test, which takes just a few minutes, involves the placement of a smallÂ strip on the babyâ€™s hand and foot. The strip is connected to a monitor, which shows the amount of oxygen in the blood.
Dr. Sharma recommends testing at least 24 hours after birth.