Every newborn in Iowa would be tested for heart defects if a bill that cleared the Iowa Senate this week become law.
Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, says about one-fourth of babies who die from a birth defect had some sort of a congenital heart problem.
“This bill will require that every newborn in Iowa shall receive a pulse oximetry screening to determine whether or not there is any need for concern,” Bolkcom says. “The test is simple, painless, non-invasive and cost-effective.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, it takes about 10 minutes to conduct the test and the cost is about $15.
“This is a really simple bill. It gets to a concern that a lot of parents have to make sure when they bring home their newborn that they’re safe to do that,” Bolkcom says. “We heard a lot of testimony from moms that had been put through some pretty bad circumstances by bringing their kids home and finding out they have this heart defection and it puts these newborns at substantial risk.”
About one in every 100 babies born in the U.S. has a congenital heart defect and surgery early in life often corrects those structural defects in the heart. The bill to require testing of Iowa infants for heart defects passed the Iowa Senate unanimously this week and awaits consideration in the Iowa House.