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Testing for congenital heart disease in newborns

By Lindsey Henry, lhenry@ky3.com
Published On: Dec 31 2013 06:24:22 AM CST

A new year marks a big change for newborn babies in the state. It's a new test, that could save babies lives, and beginning tomorrow it will be a required screening for each baby born in Missouri.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -

The test will look for congenital heart disease in newborns. Something that affects about 7,200 babies each year in the US.

Hospitals will be required to start testing for this with a pulse oximeter January 1st of 2014. This will check the oxygen levels in the blood. Cox Hospital's labor and delivery unit started doing these tests within the last year. The Neonatal intensive care unit has been doing it for a while now and doctor Joseph Eccher says it's something he's thankful for.

"It's good to see that the legislators do somethings like this that really do help in the long run to take care of our patients, they don't get to vote so other people have to kind of vote for them" says Eccher.

Chronic congenital heart disease makes up 17 to 31 percent of heart diseases, something that can be caught early on in life, a reason why it's so important to get tested as a newborn.