Pulse oximetry screening for critical congenital heart defects (CCHDs) is a highly specific, moderately sensitive test which is cost effective, acceptable to both clinical staff and parents and meets the criteria for universal screening. Pulse oximetry screening is gaining considerable worldwide support and last year was added to the recommended uniform screening panel in the USA following endorsement by the Health and Human Services Secretary. There is significant heterogeneity in published screening protocols and it is important to consider all available evidence and also take local factors into account when developing a screening programme, whether it is within an individual hospital, neonatal network or even at a national level. This paper presents available options based both on the published evidence and personal practice experience which will aid those considering the introduction of screening to make the right decisions both from a clinical and financial perspective.
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