The importance of CCHD pulse oximetry screening
February marks Heart Month, and at NSO, a time dedicated to raising awareness about critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) in newborns, affecting approximately 3 in 1000 babies in Ontario.
CCHDs are life-threatening conditions that affect the structure of the heart and heart vessels causing a disruption in the flow of oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. Screening for CCHD involves placing a sensor on the hand and foot of the newborn to measure oxygen levels in the newborn’s blood. Low oxygen levels can indicate the presence of CCHD, prompting the need for further assessment and necessary medical intervention. Pulse oximetry screening plays a vital role in early detection so that health care providers can initiate appropriate treatment, improving outcomes and reducing the risk of complications. Without early detection, babies with CCHD are at risk for serious health complications or even death. Screening programs like CCHD screening can better safeguard the health and well-being of our babies, protecting them from the burden of undetected heart conditions.