Oxygen saturation nomogram in newborns screened for critical congenital heart disease

Pediatrics. 2013 Jun;131(6):e1803-10. doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-3320. Epub 2013 May 20.


Objective: To establish simultaneous pre- and postductal oxygen saturation nomograms in asymptomatic newborns when screening for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) at ∼24 hours after birth.

Methods: Asymptomatic term and late preterm newborns admitted to the newborn nursery were screened with simultaneous pre- and postductal oxygen saturation measurements at ∼24 hours after birth. The screening program was implemented in a stepwise fashion in 3 different affiliated institutions. Data were collected prospectively from July 2009 to March 2012 in all 3 centers.

Results: We screened 13 714 healthy newborns at a median age of 25 hours. The mean preductal saturation was 98.29% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 98.27-98.31), median 98%, and mean postductal saturation was 98.57% (95% CI: 98.55-98.60), median 99%. The mean difference between the pre- and postductal saturation was -0.29% (95% CI: -0.31 to -0.27) with P < .00005. Its clinical relevance to CCHD screening remains to be determined. The postductal saturation was equal to preductal saturation in 38% and greater than preductal saturation in 40% of the screens.

Conclusions: We have established simultaneous pre- and postductal oxygen saturation nomograms at ∼24 hours after birth based on >13 000 asymptomatic newborns. Such nomograms are important to optimize screening thresholds and methodology for detecting CCHD.

Keywords: asymptomatic newborns; critical congenital heart disease; oxygen saturation nomogram; oxygen saturation screening; pre- and postductal saturations; pulse oximetry screening; universal screening.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Neonatal Screening / methods*
  • Nomograms
  • Oximetry / methods*
  • Oxygen*


  • Oxygen