Bill Gives State Authority To Use Oxygen Monitoring

Mar 5, 2014

Adult meter
Credit OxyWatch
  This week Governor Walker signed a bill enabling the state to include additional types of newborn screening methods for newborns. Pediatrician Dr. Eunice Corujo-Incha at Ministry Health Care in Rhinelander says pulse oximetry testing has been used at Ministry Health Care for about two years....  

"....pulse  oximetry

     testing is a very simple procedure. You test the oxygen level in three areas of (the newborn's) extremities before discharge...."

 The monitors are applied to the right arm and lower extremities to check oxygen levels. She says the newborn goes from getting oxygen from the placenta and umbilical cord to getting oxygen into the child's  lungs. Corujo-Incha says a physical exam can't always find problems at birth and it takes a few days for the child to fully transition normal heart and lung function...  

"....there are a lot of (conditions) that develop and you do not pick up until that transition happens. The transition doesn't happen immediately. It over a process of days that this transition is happening, so that is why you're looking for the cause-effect..when can I pick up stuff before it's too late?..."

 That's where the oxygen testing comes in. With the early monitoring, problems are found much earlier, but more testing is needed. She says some conditions can't be discovered until five to seven days after birth. Of 68,000 births in Wisconsin each year, 7,400 are born prematurely and more than 2,000 are born with birth defects.