Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Heart Screenings for Newborns Bill Heads Back to House

OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation to require a more effective heart screening of Oklahoma’s youngest residents is on its way back to the Oklahoma House of Representatives for a second vote before it can go to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin’s desk.

The Oklahoma Senate approved House Bill 1347, by state Rep. Dan Kirby by a 44-0 vote. The legislation would require hospitals and other birthing facilities to perform a pulse oximetry screening on every newborn prior to discharge from the facility. The bill was previously approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives by a 91-2 vote.

Title was stricken and then restored as the bill moved through both chambers, meaning that it will need a final vote in the House before going to the governor’s desk.

“Pulse oximetry screenings are the newest and best way to detect congenital heart defects that are often not identified by other methods,” said Kirby, R-Tulsa. “Requiring these screenings will ensure more newborns survive their first weeks of life and have fewer health problems as they continue to grow and develop.”

The pulse oximetry screening is a noninvasive test that measures the percentage of hemoglobin in blood that is saturated with oxygen.

Congenital heart defects are the No. 1 killer in infants with birth defects.

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