Advocates push oxygen test for Kansas newborns

KSN News (file)
KSN News

OLATHE, Kansas (AP) – The Kansas chapter of the American Heart Association says state health officials aren’t acting quickly enough to require a screening test that could save newborn babies’ lives.

The screening, called a pulse oximetry test, measures a baby’s oxygen level and can help identify congenital heart defects.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment started an improvement project last November in many mostly rural hospitals and birthing centers that don’t routinely do the test. A health department official says all babies will be screened by the end of the year.

But the heart association says the state should make the test mandatory immediately, The Kansas City Star reports.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services added critical heart defects to its list of recommended routine screenings in 2011.

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