More Hospitals To Test Newborns For Heart Defects

Jul 28, 2014

More New Mexico hospitals are about to start screening all newborns for a type of heart disease.

State health officials say some hospitals already test for a group of heart defects that cause severe, life-threatening symptoms but that others will start doing so Friday.

That's a result of legislation enacted earlier this year. Health Secretary Retta Ward says it's important because some of the defects may not be apparent early on but the infants need life-saving interventions quickly.

Hospitals will use an instrument placed on the skin to measure the pulse rate and the blood's oxygen levels.

If the baby screens positive for low oxygen levels, further testing can be done.

A legislative staff memo says an estimated 243 infants are born annually in New Mexico with the defects.

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