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Cohort study
Sensitivity of pulse oximetry for detection of critical congenital heart defects in newborn infants higher than that of antenatal ultrasound with few false positives
  1. Gerard R Martin1,
  2. Elizabeth A Bradshaw2
  1. 1Department of Heart, Lung and Kidney Disease, Children's National Heart Institute, Children's National Medical Center and George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
  2. 2Department of Heart Institute, Children's National Heart Institute, Children's National Medical Center and George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Gerard R Martin
    Department of Heart, Lung and Kidney Disease, Children's National Heart Institute, Children's National Medical Center and George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, District of Columbia, 111 Michigan Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20010, USA; gmartin{at}childrensnational.org

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Context

Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Such is the state of detecting congenital heart defects (CHD) in newborns. For years, clinicians have been taught that a careful physical examination of the newborn can detect CHD while witnessing cases of failed detection of newborns with critical CHD (CCHD). Despite these failures, we never critically addressed our strategy. The recent study by Ewer et al on the accuracy of pulse oximetry as a screening tool for CHD adds more credence to a new strategy to improve detection.

Methods

This prospective study was performed in six obstetric units in the West Midlands, UK. The main aim was evaluation of sensitivity and specificity of pulse …

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