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Lower pass threshold (≥93%) for critical congenital heart disease screening at high altitude prevents repeat screening and reduces false positives.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1038/s41372-022-01491-6
ObjectiveWe evaluated first screen pass rate for two pass thresholds for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) oxygen saturation (SpO2) screening at higher altitude.
Study designA retrospective cohort of 948 newborns underwent CCHD screening near sea-level (n = 463) vs 6250 ft altitude (n = 485) over 3 years. Standard SpO2 pass threshold ≥95% and lower SpO2 pass threshold ≥93% (high-altitude screen) were applied to first measurements to compare pass frequencies.
ResultsThe median SpO2 was lower in high-altitude newborns (96% vs 99%-p < 0.001). The high-altitude newborns passed the AAP algorithm first screen less often (89.3% vs 99.6%-p < 0.001). With the high-altitude algorithm, 98% of high-altitude newborns passed the first screen.
ConclusionLowering the SpO2 pass threshold by 2% at >6000 ft, significantly increased first screen pass rate. Adjustments for altitude may reduce nursing time to conduct repeat measurements and prevent transfers for echocardiograms. Larger studies are necessary to assess impact on false negatives.
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