ST. LOUIS – Governor Jay Nixon signed Chloe's Law during a ceremony at St. Louis Children's Hospital on Wednesday.
The bill will mandate pulse oximetry screening for all Missouri newborns. The lifesaving measure had been a top legislative priority for the American Heart Association and the organization celebrates this final important step.
"Because of the important work of the Missouri legislature and the actions taken by Governor Nixon today, newborn lives will be saved statewide," said Jace Smith, Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association in Missouri. "Pulse ox[imetry] screening is non-invasive, inexpensive and highly effective.
Smith explained that new research suggests that wider use of pulse oximetry screening would help identify more than 90 percent of heart defects.
The screening method consists of sensors placed on a newborn's hand and foot to check blood oxygen levels. If levels are too low, additional tests may be conducted that aid in detecting critical or possibly life-threatening heart defects that might otherwise go undetected.
In September 2011, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius advised that critical congenital heart defects screening be added to the "Recommended Uniform Screening Panel" for newborns before they are released from a hospital or birthing facility. As a result, Missouri now joins several other states including New Jersey, Maryland, Indiana, Tennessee and West Virginia in passing laws that require newborns to have pulse ox screenings prior to being discharged from the hospital.
To learn more about the pulse oximetry screenings and the American Heart Association, visit www.yourethecure.org.