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Mended Little HeartGuide

Diagnosis 3 In The Common Tests and Procedures Many children born with congenital heart defects undergo medical tests and procedures to help with diagnosis, fix problems and provide physicians and nurses with more information before a surgery or treatment. Here are some of the most common tests children with CHD may encounter: Pulse Oximetry Pulse oximetry or “pulse ox” is a common test that measures how much oxygen is circulating in the blood at any given time. Oxygen saturation for a healthy person without CHD is typically 95 to 100 percent, but this percentage is often lower in children with severe congenital heart defects. During testing, a small light-emitting monitor is usually placed on the child’s finger or toe. Pulse ox testing is painless; nothing goes into the child’s skin except for light. This test is often used in screening for critical congenital heart defects but can be also used to monitor patients with CHD, to alter treatments and to plan future procedures. It is not uncommon for some patients with CHD to be sent home with a pulse oximeter so that they can measure the amount of oxygen in their blood as part of a home-monitoring program. In addition, many states have begun to adopt pulse oximetry measurements for all newborns. Implementing this inexpensive, painless test as part of every newborn’s routine screenings has allowed earlier detection of critical heart problems. Electrocardiogram An electrocardiogram — often referred to as an EKG or an ECG — is specifically designed to look at the electrical activity of the heart. It was one of the first tests ever invented to monitor patients’ hearts. For children with CHD, cardiologists use this test to check for abnormal heart rhythms and to see whether all chambers of the heart are beating together. Like pulse oximetry, this test is painless. It involves placing wires with clips onto the child with sticky, round pads. Nothing goes into the skin or hurts the child. The heart rhythm is recorded for about 10 seconds. After recording the rhythm, the pads are removed. Sometimes, some adhesive stays on the child’s skin; baby oil may be helpful in removing it. 1 General Information 2 Prenatal Hospital 4 Living With CHD 5 Forms 27


Mended Little HeartGuide
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