Voluntary implementation of critical congenital heart disease screening in Washington hospitals

Hosp Pediatr. 2015 Apr;5(4):193-202. doi: 10.1542/hpeds.2014-0096.


Objectives: To determine the extent of voluntary implementation of pulse oximetry screening for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) in Washington. At the time of the study, there was no state legislative or regulatory mandate for CCHD screening in Washington.

Methods: A Web-based survey was sent to the nurse manager or nurse educator of the well newborn unit at each of the 64 Washington hospitals with active delivery services in May and June 2013. Telephone follow-up was conducted for incomplete surveys. The survey assessed awareness and implementation of the recommendation, the protocol followed, staffing and equipment issues, pediatric cardiology support services, and the availability of prostaglandin E1 at each birth hospital. A brief follow-up was performed in December 2013 for hospitals not screening at the time of the initial survey.

Results: As of December 2013, 89% of Washington birth hospitals (accounting for 91.4% of births) had active CCHD screening programs. The recommended protocol is used in 95% of screening hospitals. Screening programs were instituted in 96% of hospitals using existing staff, but 52% of hospitals purchased new durable equipment to institute screening.

Conclusions: There has been widespread voluntary adoption of pulse oximetry screening for CCHD in Washington birth hospitals. Quality assurance efforts are needed to assess the quality of the screening programs.

Keywords: Washington; congenital/diagnosis; heart defects; infant/newborn; neonatal screening; oximetry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Protocols
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Oximetry / statistics & numerical data*
  • Washington