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Get your newborn's heart checked

Did you know there is a simple test for newborns that can detect heart problems?

I posted about this earlier, as the American Heart Association has been working to  make the pulse oximetry screening mandatory for Florida hospitals.

The latest news is that it works: New Jersey was the first state to require the pulse ox, and in the first nine months, the test has detected  three infants with critical congenital heart defects – and 17 with other serious conditions that would not have been diagnosed otherwise, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics

Many hospitals do the test anyway, but because it isn't required, parents may need to ask that it be done along with all the other newborn screenings. Some heart defects can be life-threatening, even in the first days after birth. Many require immediate surgery.

I've heard wrenching stories from moms who took their baby home from the hospital, only to rush back to the ER with a baby in crisis. 

The pulse ox is a simple, non-invasive test that takes two minutes or less and can be done by a technician, doctor, or nurse, according to the AHA. 

About 36,000 children are born with a heart defect each year in the United States. If your child is one of them, early detection is key. 

Read more about congenital heart defects at the AHA website,