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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: January 9, 2013 03:58 PM
From: Senator Daylin Leach
To: All Senate members
Subject: Heart Screenings for Newborns
In the near future I will be re-introducing legislation to require healthcare providers who have birthing and newborn care services to perform a pulse oximetry screening on every newborn within 24 hours of birth.

In the United States 7 out of every 1,000 babies born are affected by congenital heart disease (CHD). This weakening, absence or abnormality of the heart walls can be life threatening if it is not detected and treated early in a newborns life. Congenital heart disease is the leading cause of infant death due to birth defect.

Ultrasound screenings prior to birth, and clinical examinations after, are good ways to screen for CHDs. The most effective method however, remains the pulse oximetry screening which is a non-invasive test to identify the levels of hemoglobin in the blood. This simple screening is the best way for doctors to discover and treat heart abnormalities in newborns.

By requiring Pennsylvania hospitals and birthing centers to provide this simple screening at birth, we can save lives. The effects of CHD are devastating and can wrench a child from an unsuspecting family before there are any signs of medical trouble. The best opportunity to address this problem is at birth and with a pulse oximetry screening. Please join me in protecting our youngest citizens.

Introduced as SB545