Temporal trends in routine predischarge pulse oximetry screening: 6 years’ experience in a UK regional neonatal unit

Amy Henderson, Diana Aguirre, Anju Singh, Andrew Ewer

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Objectives: To evaluate the continued impact of pulse oximetry screening (POS) in a regional neonatal unit (NNU) and identify trends in screening outcomes in comparison with our previous experience.

Design: Retrospective review of admissions between April 2013 and March 2019 (the current study) and comparison with previously published data (the 2014 study).

Patients: All infants >34 weeks completed gestation admitted to NNU as a result of positive POS.

Outcome measures: Indication for admission, diagnosis, investigations and management.

Results: There were 49 375 livebirths and 253 NNU admissions as a result of positive POS (0.5% of livebirths; compared with 0.8% in 2014). 247/253 (97.6%) of those admitted had a significant diagnosis requiring medical intervention (compared with 79% in 2014) and the proportion of healthy babies (with transitional circulation) admitted decreased from 21% to 2.4%.

22 (9%) babies admitted as a result of a positive POS were found to have a previously undiagnosed congenital heart defect (CHD) of which eight were critical CHDs (CCHDs). This accounted for 73% of all undiagnosed CCHD undergoing POS. The antenatal detection rate of CCHD was 75% compared with 46% in 2014. No baby died or collapsed on the postnatal ward during the study period. The proportion of babies with CCHD identified before discharge improved from 94% to 99%.

Conclusions: Routine POS, in addition to antenatal screening and postnatal examination, continues to contribute to the improvement of our overall CCHD detection rates. We have demonstrated an overall reduction in the admission of healthy babies and therefore workload following a positive test.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of disease in childhood. Fetal and neonatal edition
Early online date22 Oct 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Oct 2021


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