Hypoxaemic conditions such as cardiac, respiratory and infective diseases remain a significant cause of death in the early neonatal period. Hypoxaemia is readily detected by pulse oximetry. Pulse oximetry has been shown to be a safe, quick, simple non-invasive test with high specificity and moderate sensitivity for detecting critical congenital heart defects (CCHD) in pre-discharge newborn babies.

This DRAFT Framework for Practice has the following aims:

  • To provide standardised guidance for routine pulse oximetry (PulseOx) testing of all asymptomatic newborn babies of 34 weeks and above born in any setting the UK.
  • To identify and manage babies with persistently low oxygen saturations enabling timely investigation and treatment. To minimise unnecessary investigations in babies with delayed cardio-respiratory adaptation (i.e. healthy babies) and prevent unnecessary parent-baby separation.
  • To provide guidance for parents on the nature of the PulseOx test.
  • To provide guidance on audit and governance regarding pulse oximetry testing.

Consultation is open for comments on this draft document. Please submit your comments via the link below.

Deadline for comments: 26 August.

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DRAFT Framework: Routine pulse oximetry testing for newborn babies
British Association of Perinatal Medicine (BAPM) is registered in England & Wales under charity number 1199712 at 5-11 Theobalds Road, London, WC1X 8SH.
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