Washington is the latest state to require a simple and inexpensive test to screen all newborns for congenital heart defects.
The legislation was signed into law on last week and requires that all of the state’s newborns – nearly 87,000 per year — will get a pulse oximetry test. The requirements begin in late July.
Pulse oximetry tests blood oxygen levels using sensors placed on a newborn’s hand and foot. If levels are too low, more tests can be ordered that can uncover life-threatening heart defects, according to the American Heart Association.
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