New State Law Requires Screening For Heart Defects - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

New State Law Requires Screening For Heart Defects

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A new Tennessee state law goes into effect Tuesday, mandating that newborn babies be screened for congenital heart defects.

Many hospitals already check babies, but until now it has not been a requirement. Although few newborns in Tennessee have heart defects, they can be fatal if not treated.

Doctors will check for defects with a device called a pulse oximeter.

Dr. Stuart Shapira is a pediatrician at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She said the pulse oximeter is a painless way to measure the amount of oxygen in a baby's blood.

Tennessee's new law mandating the test is based on recommendations from federal health officials and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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