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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: February 18, 2013

Sen. Kim David
Sen. Kim David

Pulse Oximetry screenings for newborns heads to full Senate

According to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services’ Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children, congenital heart disease affects approximately seven to nine of every one thousand births in the nation. Current methods for detecting congenital heart defects find less than half of all cases which is why Sen. Kim David has filed Senate Bill 851 requiring pulse oximetry screening for newborns. The measure was approved unanimously Monday by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

“Congenital heart defects are a leading cause of death among infants with birth defects. This is a simple, noninvasive screening that could save hundreds of Oklahoma newborns and give even more a better quality of life,” said David, R-Porter.

Congenital heart defects are structural abnormalities of the heart that are present at birth. They can range in severity from simple problems, such as holes between chambers of the heart, to severe malformations, such as the complete absence of one of more chambers or valves. Some critical congenital heart defects can cause severe and life-threatening symptoms which require intervention within the first days of life.

“The bottom line is current methods for detecting congenital heart defects including prenatal ultrasound screening and repeated clinical examinations can identify many affected newborns but these screenings, alone, identify less than half of all cases,” said David. “Therefore, critical congenital heart defect cases are often missed. Many newborn lives could potentially be saved by earlier detection and treatment of congenital heart defects if birthing facilities in the state were required to perform this simple screening.”

Pulse oximetry estimates the percentage of hemoglobin in blood that is saturated with oxygen.

SB 851 will now head to the full Senate for further consideration.

For more information contact:
Sen. David: (405) 521-5590

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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