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Journal of Perinatal Medicine

Official Journal of the World Association of Perinatal Medicine

Editor-in-Chief: Dudenhausen, Joachim W.

Editorial Board Member: / Bancalari, Eduardo / Greenough, Anne / Genc, Mehmet R. / Chervenak, Frank A. / Chappelle, Joseph / Bergmann, Renate L. / Bernardes, J.F. / Bevilacqua, G. / Blickstein, Isaac / Cabero Roura, Luis / Carbonell-Estrany, Xavier / Carrera, Jose M. / D`Addario, Vincenzo / D'Alton, MD, Mary E. / Dimitrou, G. / Grunebaum, Amos / Hentschel, Roland / Köpcke, W. / Kawabata, Ichiro / Keirse, M.J.M.C. / Kurjak M.D., Asim / Lee, Ben H. / Levene, Malcolm / Lockwood, Charles J. / Marsal, Karel / Makatsariya, Alexander / Nishida, Hiroshi / Papp, Zoltán / Pejaver, Ranjan Kumar / Pooh, Ritsuko K. / Romero, Roberto / Saugstad, Ola D. / Schenker, Joseph G. / Sen, Cihat / Seri, Istvan / Vetter, Klaus / Winn, Hung N. / Young, Bruce K. / Zimmermann, Roland

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Indications and limitations for a neonatal pulse oximetry screening of critical congenital heart disease

Enrico Rosati1 / Giovanna Chitano2 / Lucia Dipaola3 / Claudio De Felice4 / Giuseppe Latini5






Corresponding author: Latini G., MD. Division of Neonatology Perrino Hospital S.S. 7 per Mesagne 72100 Brindisi Clinical Physiology Institute National Research Council of Italy Lecce Section (IFC-CNR) Italy Tel.: +39-0831-537471 Fax: +39-0831-537861

Citation Information: Journal of Perinatal Medicine. Volume 33, Issue 5, Pages 455–457, ISSN (Online) 1619-3997, ISSN (Print) 0300-5577, DOI: 10.1515/JPM.2005.080, October 2005

Publication History

January 12, 2005
April 20, 2005
June 15, 2005


Aims: Critical congenital cardiovascular malformations (CCVMs) require surgical correction during the first month of life, physical examination is unable to detect >50% of affected infants. An oximetry screening has been previously proposed. Our aim was to verify the usefulness and consistency of a pulse oximetry screening for early detection of CCVMs in a small size nursery.

Methods: A single determination of SpO2 was performed on 5292 consecutive apparently healthy newborns, discharged from nursery at a median age of 72 h during the period May 1, 2000 and November 30, 2004. Infants showing signs of congenital heart disease before the screening and those with a prenatal diagnosis were excluded. Cardiac ultrasound was performed on all infants with SpO2≤95% at >24 h. The accuracy of the screening in identifying CCVMs was assessed by receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curves analysis.

Results: We found 2 (0.038%) true positives, 1 (0.019%) false negative, 1 (0.019%) false positive, and 5288 (99.92%) true negatives. Prevalence of critical CCVMs was 1 in 1764. Clinical follow-up showed no evidence of CCVMs in the negative cases. A pulse-oximetry cut-off value of ≤95% showed 66.7% sensitivity (95% CI: 11.6–94.5), 100% specificity (95% CI: 99.9–100.0), 50% positive predictive value, 100% negative predictive value and AUC of 0.833 (standard error: 0.145) (95% CI: 0.823 to 0.843) in identifying CCVMs.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that pulse oximetry is a non-invasive and specific screening tool for an early detection of CCVMs, and is easily applicable to a small size nursery.

Keywords: Congenital heart disease; critical congenital cardiovascular malformations; pulse oximetry

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