Law requires oxygen test for newborns

Posted: July 05, 2014

Pennsylvania has joined most states in requiring that newborns have their blood oxygen levels measured - a simple test that allows doctors to catch rare heart defects missed during prenatal screening.

The test, known as pulse oximetry, consists of placing a small sensor on the infant's foot. It is common practice at birthing hospitals, but was not mandated in Pennsylvania. On Wednesday, Gov. Corbett signed the requirement, which takes effect in 90 days.

Physicians say the test can detect problems while newborns are still in the hospital, in case they need surgery. Infants who go home with an undiagnosed heart defect are at risk of respiratory distress or stroke.

New Jersey became the first state to require such tests in 2011. All but a handful of states now require it, according to the Newborn Coalition, an advocacy group. The prime sponsor of Pennsylvania's law was Rep. Karen Boback (R., Columbia).


tavril@phillynews.com

215-854-2430

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|