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Pulse oximetry screening (POS) for critical congenital heart defects (CCHD) has consistent test accuracy,1 meets the criteria for a universal screening test1 and reduces mortality.2
In May 2019, the National Screening Committee (NSC) announced a public consultation on its decision not to introduce routine POS for CCHD in all newborn babies.1
The main reasons given for the NSC’s decision are outlined in the consultation cover note as follows:
‘A positive result from pulse oximetry will generate some harms, including parental anxiety, a longer stay in hospital, possible transfer to the neonatal unit (NNU), further tests to assess for non-symptomatic conditions.
For many of these babies, further investigations will be unnecessary and the baby will be identified as healthy. This is a false positive result.
For babies with CHD (congenital heart defects) or other non-cardiac condition, it is not clear that investigations and identification of these conditions will …
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