Harmless baby heart test

(KSNT) – If you’re a parent or will become one in the near future, there’s a test that could save your child’s life but hospitals in Kansas are not required to do it.

The test can detect more than 90% of critical congenital heart defects in infants and it’s completely harmless.

The Pulse Oximetry Screening Test is a quick non-invasive procedure which could save your baby’s life.

Kansas is 1 of 10 states in the country that doesn’t require newborns to have the test done.

“All they do is a little adhesive probe on their hand and a little adhesive probe on their foot, there’s no sticking or poking or anything painful at all,” Neonatal Nurse at St. Francis Health Center Amber Gumm said.

As of August 1st, 78% of birthing facilities and hospitals in the state provide the test. Most of those that don’t do it are in rural areas which don’t have a lot of births.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, along with a number of organizations, have partnered up to teach nurses and doctors across the state the importance of the test.

“What we decided to do was to not wait for any legislation, and to started this project,” KDHE Bureau of Family Health Director Rachel Sisson said.

The test is only $4 and takes just 5 minutes to conduct 48 hours after a baby is born. It measures the blood oxygen. If the levels are too low, additional tests may be done.

“Every parent, as a parent myself, I would want it done for my children before they go home,” Gumm said.

Before KDHE launched it’s project – only 30% of the birthing facilities and hospitals had the test available for babies. Now they’ve more than doubled the number.

1 In every 100 babies is born with a congenital heart defect. It’s the #1 birth defect and leading cause of infant death in Kansas.

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