Pulse ox plus auscultation reliable for congenital heart screening

September 23, 2017
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(HealthDay)—Pulse oximetry (POX) plus cardiac auscultation is a reliable method for neonatal congenital heart disease screening, according to a study published online Sept. 22 in Pediatrics.

Xiao-jing Hu, Ph.D., from the Children's Hospital of Fudan University in Shanghai, and colleagues assessed the accuracy of POX plus cardiac auscultation for the detection of major (CHD) in 15 Chinese hospitals (July 1, 2012, through Dec. 31, 2014). An abnormal POX or cardiac auscultation was defined as screen positive. Echocardiograph was performed on all screen-positive newborns.

The researchers found that the screening rate ranged from 94.0 to 99.8 percent, with 167,190 consecutive asymptomatic newborn infants screened. In total, 203 screened newborns had major CHD (44 critical and 159 serious). The sensitivity of POX plus cardiac auscultation was 95.5 percent for critical CHD and 92.1 percent for major CHD, with false-positive rates of 1.2 and 1.1 percent, respectively.

"We show that using POX plus cardiac auscultation significantly improved the detection rate of major CHD in the early neonatal stage, with high sensitivity and a reasonable false-positive rate," the authors write.

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