Our Fort Myers Birth Defect Attorneys announce that reports show that an inexpensive, non-invasive and very simple test could detect severe heart birth defects in newborn babies within a day of birth, possibly sparing them from more serious complications later on. The test, known as pulse oximetry, can pick up cardiac birth defects in three quarters of the babies who have them within just 24 hours of birth, according to a review published this month in The Lancet.
Heart birth defects are a leading cause of death in newborns. But detected early, treatment can result in good outcomes. Unfortunately, only about half of all newborns with a cardiac defect are diagnosed before they leave the hospital.
Detecting Birth Defects
Pulse oximetry uses a sensor on the foot to measure blood oxygen levels, with measurements given instantly, in a digital display. Low oxygenation could indicate the presence of a congenital heart defect. Hospitals have long debated routine use of the test to detect heart birth defects, but its accuracy was held in question. Since 2011, four states in the United States have passed laws that require newborns to undergo pulse oximetry. The finding of The Lancet study could accelerate that trend.
Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Birmingham, reviewed 13 studies involving more than 240,000 babies that evaluated the use of pulse oximetry to accurately detect heart defects in newborns. The study authors included newborns without symptoms who were screened for critical congenital heart defects that could kill the baby or require invasive procedures like surgery in the first 28 days of life.
According to the study, pulse oximetry showed an accuracy rate of 99.9 percent, and detected 76.5 percent of all congenital heart-defect cases and had a low false-positive rate of .14 percent. The risk of a false positive result was even lower when the baby was tested more than a day after birth, rather than within the first 24 hours
“The findings of this meta-analysis provide compelling evidence for introduction of pulse oximetry as a screening method in clinical practice,” the authors write. “The sensitivity of the test is higher than present strategies based on antenatal screening and clinical examination, and the false-positive rate is very low, especially when done after 24 hours of birth.”
About our Ft. Myers Birth Defect Lawyers
The Ft. Myers, Naples Birth Injury Lawyers of Gilman Law LLP represent victims of birth defects caused by medical malpractice, as well as exposure to defective drugs or other toxins. If your child suffers from a birth defect because of another’s negligence, please contact our firm to speak with a Ft. Myers, Naples Birth Defect Lawyer:
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