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New Legislation Helps Keep Newborns Heart Healthy

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Governor Terry Branstad recently held a celebratory signing of a new piece of legislation that is helping to keep newborns heart healthy.

The American Heart Association and its volunteers pushed for the new law. It requires all hospitals in the state to give newborn babies a pulse oximetry screening before they go home. The screening shows oxygen levels in the blood. Low levels can mean babies have a congenital heart disease even though they look healthy.

"This is number one birth defect, one of the most common causes of deaths in newborns, so we should have been screening for it, so it's good we started," University of Hospitals and Clinics, Pediatric Cardiology, Dr. Ben Reinking said.

Doctors say if the heart issues are discovered with the screening, babies have a good chance for survival. Tonight at 10, we'll meet a family that knows the importance of this new legislation after their own son was born with a serious heart defect.

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