Soon after birth, a pulse oximetry test detected Oscar’s SATS were low, and this led to him being diagnosed with total anomalous pulmonary venous connection (TAPVC). His mum, Clare, tells his story:
A couple of hours after our son, Oscar, was born, he started making grunting noises. The midwife suspected he was cold, but after wrapping him up warm, the grunting continued. The midwife then decided to run a set of observations on him and, on reading the result, she thought their pulse oximeter was broken. She checked with another pulse oximeter, which confirmed that his blood oxygen level was lower than it should have been.
Oscar was whisked away to the neonatal ward for antibiotics and oxygen as they suspected an infection, but with no improvement in his oxygen saturation they then thought it may be a problem with his heart.
Later that evening he was diagnosed with total anomalous pulmonary venous connection (TAPVC), a diagnosis they confirmed via video link with Bristol Children’s Hospital. After a really traumatic 10 weeks in and out of hospital he had surgery to repair the TAPVC.
Everyday I feel grateful he made that grunting noise. If he hadn’t, no-one would have checked him over. I’ll never understand why a quick pulse oximetry SATS check isn’t done just after babies are born, certainly before they are allowed home. For most it will be reassuring, but I am sure finding lower oxygen saturation early would improve outcomes and pathways for some families and that can only be a good thing.
Oscar is two-and-a-half now and so active, we are really very lucky. He’s doing fine now, we just struggle with his check-ups because he won’t let any doctors near – but that’s another story!
Pulse oximetry is not part of mandatory NHS newborn checks. Tiny Tickers believes every baby should have the test that could help save their life and to help achieve this, we place pulse oximetry machines in maternity wards across the UK.
To find out more about where we have placed machines and how you can help, read about our Test for Tommy pulse oximetry campaign here.