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Heart screenings save newborn's lives

A child at Mott Children's hospital is one of five Michigan newborns saved because of state-required heart screenings. 

Newborn Payton Morris was minutes away from being discharged from the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital when her parents learned that she had failed a new state mandated heart test. 

"They could have gotten home, had trouble breathing, trouble feeding, and all of a sudden gotten very sick, to where they would have been brought to the hospital and been in a very critical or emergency condition," Ron Grifka, a cardiologist at Mott, explained. "But by having this pulse ox (pulse oximetry) screening, we were able to avoid all of that."

Five babies have had life saving surgery for congenital heart defects since the state mandated the test in April. 

"We can detect a lot of heart problems in newborn babies that would otherwise go undetected, and by detecting them early, we can avoid problems so that they should have as close to a normal life as possible," Grifka said.

The probe used for the non-invasive test only costs about $10, and sometimes can be used more than once. This cost, in comparison to ambulance rides or emergency surgeries, is a no brainer according to Grifka.

Learn more about the Newborn Pulse Oximetry Screening here, or at michigan.gov.   

--Paige Pfleger, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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