New technology screens baby's for heart defects - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

New technology screens baby's for heart defects

A newborn undergoing heart screenings at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital A newborn undergoing heart screenings at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital
One of the sensors attached to a newborn's hand, which measures blood oxygen levels and pulse rates One of the sensors attached to a newborn's hand, which measures blood oxygen levels and pulse rates
Newborns at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital undergoing screenings Newborns at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital undergoing screenings
One of the sensors attached to a newborn's foot, which measures blood oxygen levels and pulse rates One of the sensors attached to a newborn's foot, which measures blood oxygen levels and pulse rates
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is using new technology to detect heart defects in newborn babies.

Technicians will use small sensors to measure the baby's blood and pulse rates at no extra cost to the parents. The goal is to catch congenital conditions, which account for nearly 30-percent of infant deaths, caused by birth defects.

The Centers for Disease Control reported about 18 out of every 10-thousand babies have critical congenital heart defects.

"After the baby is 24 hours old, we will place a pulse oximeter on the hand and either foot and we're testing the levels of the oxygen in the blood stream. It's a very quick and painless test. It takes less than five minutes," said Mindy Spencer, Neonatal Outreach Educator.

Spencer said more thorough tests will be administered if the results come back positive.

She said the hospital will be able to catch about 27 defect cases every year, 9 of which would be severe cases that would otherwise go un-noticed.

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