Newborn Critical Congenital Heart Disease Screening Using Pulse Oximetry: Nursing Aspects

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Congenital heart disease (CCHD) is the most common birth defect. Screening for the most critical forms (CCHD) using pulse oximetry was added to the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel in the United States in 2011. Since then, CCHD screening has become nearly universal in the United States. Nurses are ideally situated to contribute to the development of best practices for implementation and provide education to families on CCHD screening. Much of the standardization, advocacy, and development of national recommendations occurred with key input from nurses. Nurses often have responsibility for educating parents, performing the screening, interpreting the screening algorithm, and the documentation of results. The nurse role often includes implementing follow-up quality improvement initiatives to ensure that systematic and accurate screening occurs. Smooth implementation can be achieved by identifying champions early, obtaining input from a multidisciplinary team including both physician and nursing leaders, and identifying ways to integrate screening into already existing workflow. By knowing the basics of why screening is important, how to screen, current recommendations on the follow-up for positive screens and the limitations of CCHD screening, nurses can advocate for their patients and positively impact outcomes for infants born with CCHD through early identification before discharge.

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