iStock_000002298908XSmallNewborn Screening month wraps up at the end of September and has served as a time to recognize the great strides we’ve made in screening babies born in Arizona.

Arizona joins 36 other states in implementing a new test for critical congenital heart defect in newborns this year. Newborns in Arizona now have access to non-invasive pulse oximetry screening. This is a point of care test done at about 24 hours of life, before discharge from the hospital or birth setting.

Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defects affecting 1% of all births, 25% of those are considered a critical congenital heart defect. Infants born with this have an increased risk of developing serious and life-threatening complications during the first few days and weeks of life. Many of these babies may have to undergo surgery or other procedures during their first year of life. The pulse oximetry screening helps identify newborns with undiagnosed life-threating symptoms.

Newborn Screening serves a vital role in ensuring testing for congenital disorders, critical congenital heart defects, and hearing loss are conducted in an effective and efficient manner.