Pulse Oximetry Screening for Newborns

Heart Institute at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

Supporting Newborn Nurseries Performing Pulse Oximetry Testing

Heart Institute and Newborn Medicine Program at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

Pulse Oximetry Screening for NewbornsEvery 15 minutes a baby is born with a congenital heart defect and much attention has been given to the early detection of this serious condition in newborns. In 2011, the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children, as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics, The American College of Cardiology, and the American Heart Association have come together to recommend the use of pulse oximetry to detect critical congenital heart disease during a newborn screening.

While many states are at various points of legislative positions, most hospitals and nurseries are evaluating the implementation of pulse oximetry screening as part of their newborn assessment plan.

The Heart Institute and the Newborn Medicine Program at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh have the expertise to partner with hospitals and nurseries that are performing pulse oximetry screening for newborns. Our pediatric cardiologists are available to assist with the interpretation of echocardiograms through secure, high-speed tele-cardiology technology and aid in the transport of critically ill newborns when congenital heart defects are detected.

Tele-Cardiology Support

Through our tele-cardiology service, the Heart Institute offers an opportunity to partner with nurseries in rural communities, supporting physicians and their patients with echocardiography interpretation. With our remote reading capabilities, our pediatric cardiologists are able to support rapid turnaround interpretation of echocardiograms, providing physicians with diagnostic information to better manage their patients. This service also enables rural nurseries and hospitals to provide the best possible service to their patients and families.

Transport of Critically Ill Newborns

If escalation of care is required, we provide transportation service to the Heart Institute for newborns and infants in need of support. Our highly specialized transport team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to transport the most critically ill newborns and infants. Physicians may request our transport service anytime of the day or night at 412-692-5000.

Educational Materials for Pulse Oximetry Screening

As a tool for newborn nurseries, we have provided the following educational materials as a guide in the development of your program:

  • a 6-minute educational video about pulse oximetry screening by Neonatologist Melissa Riley, MD, and Nurse Educator Breanne Giron, BSN, RN, CCRN. The video describes the principles of pulse oximetry technology, demonstrates the correct method of apply a pulse oximeter on a newborn, and identifies troubleshooting methods when obtaining a pulse oximeter reading.
  • a PowerPoint presentation (PDF) explaining the need for pulse oximetry screening for critical congenital heart disease, along with information about procedures and examples.

Contact Us

If you would like to learn more about partnering with UPMC Children's Hospital for pulse oximetry screening and echocardiography consultation, please contact Amy Cashdollar by phone at 412-692-5411.

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