Mary Bridge Children's Hospital

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Newborn Screening Program - Pulse Oximetry Screening To Detect Congenital Heart Disease, 10/1/2007

MultiCare Health System’s Institutional Review Board recently approved a study to utilize pulse oximetry technology to screen normal newborns for congenital heart disease (CHD). Approximately 1 out of 100 babies are born with congenital heart defects, but finding babies with CHD is not easy.

Current practice for screening newborns is to look for symptoms and listen for murmurs in early exams. More extensive cardiac screening has not been widely pursued at because current diagnostics do not make good first-level screening tools.

A recent research trial of pulse oximetry screening for CHD was conducted with approximately 11,000 babies who had passed stethoscope evaluations. Three potentially life-threatening cardiac defects were found in the trial and two defects were missed (they were later found and treated). But a better-than-50 percent detection rate is good considering the cost of the screening is low, given that pulse oximetry equipment is readily available.

Pediatric cardiologists and obstetric providers believe that the addition of these screenings will improve the level of care for newborns at Tacoma General Hospital and add to the research being conducted in this area.

Grants from the Fraternal Order of Eagles help support this screening protocol. These grant dollars will support education and communication for physicians and other health care personnel, as well as for families whose children will participate in the screening. This research is scheduled to begin in early 2008.

For more information about this research effort, please contact the Mary Bridge Pediatric Heart Program at 253-403-3527.

“The Heart of a Mother” research study underway

The heart of a mother has a capacity beyond words. We would like to better understand the "hidden tools" that mothers use to endure the extreme stress of having a child undergo heart surgery and yet maintain their role as a loving, caring mother. We have designed a research study in which mothers have the opportunity to share their thoughts, experiences, and insights with us before, during, and after their child’s hospitalization for surgery. The study does not involve any experimental treatments and does not impact the child’s care.

If you would like to know more about the study, please contact Kayla Harvey, ARNP, at 253-403-3527.