A new test has been developed that can spot heart defects in newborn babies, some of these problems can be life threatening.
The test can now be carried out before the baby is taken home.
Around 1% of babies have some kind of heart defects at birth.
These can range from relatively mild conditions to serious life-threatening problems that could develop shortly after birth or may not make themselves known for several years.
The major problem is something known as duct dependent circulation this means that blood continues to flow through a hole in an archery of the heart which normally closes as part of the natural birth process.
This can be a serious danger to the baby as it is capable of stopping the flow of blood around the baby’s body and causes sudden death. Therefore, it is essential to spot this particular problem as soon as possible after the child is born.
A new very quick and simple test, which goes under the name of pulse oximetry, uses sensory equipment on the babies to measure how much oxygen is actually located within the blood in the babies hands and feet. This is a strong indicator of whether the condition is present or not.