American Heart Association
Pulse Oximetry Newborn Screenings: Congenital heart defects are the No. 1 killer of infants with birth defects. The current screenings being performed in birthing facilities, alone, identify less than half of all cases, and critical congenital heart defect cases are often missed prior to a newborn’s discharge from a birthing facility. Pulse Oximetry is a non-invasive test that estimates the percentage of hemoglobin in blood that is saturated with oxygen. A probe is attached to the baby’s foot and hand with a band aid like adhesive, and the results are determined within minutes.

We are working hard to make pulse oximetry screening a requirement in EVERY State. We understand that when it comes to life saving techniques, parents are willing to stand together to accomplish anything! How do we raise awareness of such an essential technique? We are asking that YOU, the READERS, write letters to the editor of your newspaper and stand with parents-to-be to make sure that their babies receive the best quality of care hospitals can provide.

American Heart Association
Here is short outline you can use to write your letter to the editor. Make sure to voice your opinion on the concern and let’s get every state up to the highest standards of testing for newborns!

First, Visit your local newspaper’s website to learn how to submit a letter to the editor. If necessary, phone your editor and ask the preferred method of submission.
Second, make sure you leave your name and contact information (including phone number) when you submit. The newspaper will need to contact you to verify you truly submitted the letter before they can publish it.
Lastly, your letter to the editor should be short, around 100 words.

American Heart Association

Letter to the Editor Guide

1. Share your story if you have had an oxygen saturation circumstance where you needed to know your blood oxygen level. Make a personal connection with the audience right from the start. Explain what pulse ox is (you can use 3a).

2. State your intent to get decision-makers to make pulse oximetry screening a requirement in YOUR STATE.

3. Back up your intent with facts:

a. Pulse oximetry is a screening that checks a baby’s blood oxygen level through sensors placed on their toe and finger. The results can indicate whether a child has a congenital heart defect (CHD). It is fast, painless, and affordable, costing approximately $5, and most importantly, it CAN SAVE LIVES.

b. It is quick and painless, but more importantly, it can save lives. After a baby is born the pulse oximetry screening test helps to identify heart defects that could potentially save a life.

c. Congenital heart defects (CHD) are the most common birth defect in the United States and the leading cause of death for infants with defects. In 2004, hospital costs for individuals with CHD totaled $2.6 billion.

d. Utilization of the pulse oximetry screening test could help identify more than 90% of heart defects.

e. In New Jersey, just hours after the Pulse Oximetry Law went into action, a newborn’s life was saved.

4. Restate your intent by urging lawmakers one more time to pass pulse oximetry legislation. Encourage other community members to do the same. Caring for children is often a community effort and we need our neighbors and friends to join us in this important initiative. You can direct them to for more information on how to get involved!

You can also visit our Facebook page for Houston and our Twitter page for more information.

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