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American Heart Association’s Littlest Superheroes Celebrate a Big Accomplishment

From American Heart Association:

American Heart Association volunteers across the state are celebrating the day a critical newborn screening test officially goes into effect. For nearly a year, advocates have met with their legislators, hosted a press conference, and wrote letters to get the Pulse Ox bill passed and signed into law. Governor Cuomo signed the law last August and January 27th marks the day it takes effect statewide.

The pulse oximetry test will be given to every newborn before discharge from the hospital. It is a simple and non-invasive test that measures the level of oxygen in the blood stream. A low level can be an indication of a congenital heart defect, the most common kind of birth defect. Nearly 1 in 100 infants born each year have a congenital heart defect. Pulse oximetry screening is estimated to help identify more than 90 percent of heart defects.

“I'll never forget the devastation we felt when our son, Jacob, was diagnosed with a rare congenital heart defect,” said American Heart Association volunteer Kelsey Thomas, of Syracuse. “That devastation quickly turned to an overwhelming sense of joy when our son survived open heart surgery at just eight days old and thrived in the days following. This test saved our little boy's life and we know how lucky we are that it was performed on him when it was. If the test had not been performed, we would have lost him.”

“The sooner we identify a problem, the sooner we can treat it and let these children and their families lead the kinds of lives they imagined they would lead,” said Cardiologist Dr. Uzma Iqbal, president of the American Heart Association advisory board in Syracuse. “Thank you, Governor Cuomo, for seeing the sense and simplicity of conducting a pulse ox test on every newborn.”

The Pulse Ox Bill was sponsored by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, D-Forestburgh and Senator Bill Larkin, R-Cornwall-on-Hudson.

Celebrate with the many families that fought for this law and watch their triumph here:
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