Assemblyman Zebrowski announces passage of legislation to test newborns for critical heart defects

Press release from Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski

Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-New City) announced last week that a bill he co-sponsored, which requires testing of newborns for critical congenital heart defects through pulse oximetry screening (A.2316-B), passed the Assembly.

“These screenings are low-cost, non-invasive, painless, and take only one minute to perform. We have the technology to perform this exam, so there is no reason we should not be using this test on every baby before they are sent home from the hospital,” stated Assemblyman Zebrowski.

About 7,200 babies are born with critical congenital heart defects each year with about 300 of those babies discharged from the hospital without being properly diagnosed. These babies often seem healthy at first, but soon require emergency care to save their lives, Zebrowski noted.

“It is imperative that we do everything possible to ensure newborns go on to live a healthy life. This screening must become a standard practice in every hospital because of its potential to save lives and highlight major health problems,” said Zebrowski.

Pulse oximetry screenings involve taping a small sensor to the baby’s foot while it beams red light through the foot to measure how much oxygen is in the blood. This screening is effective at detecting some critical congenital heart defects that may otherwise go undetected by current screening methods.