All WI newborns to be screened for congenital heart defects - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

All WI newborns to be screened for congenital heart defects

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MADISON (WKOW) -- All Wisconsin newborns will now be screened for congenital heart defects.

Governor Scott Walker passed an emergency rule requiring the testing to start Thursday, July 3.

The American Heart Association says pulse oximetry is a simple, non-invasive but effective test to catch critical congenital heart defects which might otherwise have gone undetected.

All it requires is a light sensor that can penetrate the skin and measure oxygen saturation within the blood.

Congenital heart defects are malformations of the heart or major blood vessels that occur before birth.

The AHA says in many cases, these defects might not be identified and outwardly healthy infants could be admitted to nurseries and discharged from hospitals before signs of disease appear.

Congenital heart defects account for 27% of infant deaths that are caused by birth defects.

The pulse oximetry test could save many lives.

“We applaud Governor Walker for approving this emergency rule,“ says Nicole Hudzinski, Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association.  “The last thing anyone wants is a baby to get sick or even die while we wait for a permanent rule.  Our goal has always been 100% of babies screened, and we’re ecstatic that we have reached that goal”.
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