Nordic pulse oximetry screening--implementation status and proposal for uniform guidelines

Acta Paediatr. 2014 Nov;103(11):1136-42. doi: 10.1111/apa.12758. Epub 2014 Aug 24.


Aim: Pulse oximetry screening of newborn infants increases early detection of critical congenital heart disease and minimises the risk of circulatory collapse before surgery. This study provides an update on the implementation of pulse oximetry screening in the Nordic countries and proposes standardised guidelines.

Methods: A questionnaire exploring pulse oximetry screening, clinical examination routines and availability of echocardiography was distributed to all 157 delivery units in the Nordic countries in June 2013.

Results: We received responses from 156 of the 157 delivery units, and 116 (74%) were using pulse oximetry screening by September 2013. Preductal and postductal screening were both used in 59 of 116 units (51%), with just postductal screening in 51 of 116 (44%) and just preductal screening alone in 6 of 116 (5%). Screening was performed before 24 h in 105 of 116 units (91%). The implementation of screening was highest in Finland (29/30, 97%), Sweden (42/46, 91%) and Norway (43/48, 90%) and lowest in Denmark (2/24, 8%) and Iceland (0/8 units).

Conclusion: In Sweden, Norway and Finland, the implementation of pulse oximetry screening is currently the highest in the world and coverage will be close to 100% in 2014. We propose uniform Nordic guidelines using preductal and postductal screening before 24 h of age.

Keywords: Congenital heart disease; Guidelines; Newborn screening; Pulse oximetry.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neonatal Screening / standards*
  • Oximetry / standards*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Scandinavian and Nordic Countries
  • Surveys and Questionnaires