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PulseOx Tool for Cardiac Anomalies

Determine the need for further cardiac testing in infants.

Congenital cardiac anomalies are not often detected early with less than 11% of them diagnosed at birth. Often infants are discharged to home with defects being found only after an adverse or devastating event. A practice recommended in 2011 by the Health and Human Services Committee and advocated by many healthcare professionals, including the American Heart Association and American Academy of Pediatrics, is to monitor oxygen saturations in a systematic process to screen for defects within 24-48 hours of birth. Pulse oximetry is a non invasive, simple and painless method for screening which can be easily adapted to the newborn care environment. 

A newer application for smart phones, the PulseOx tool, developed by the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, helps with precise calculation of data to determine if there is a need for further testing after screening. The application automates the algorithmic calculations, which can be confusing or prone to user errors in a fast-paced care environment. The program's method of calculation allows for less error and a consistent approach to the screening process. In initial testing of the tool, the accuracy was found superior to manually computed results.

Additionally, the algorithm to follow for the screening is included within the application. The tool allows for input of data including the age in days or hours, the number of attempts be it first, second or third, and the location of the measurement with the right hand and either foot. The oxygen saturation percentage is then entered with the numeric value chosen through a simple scrolling process. To reduce error in overall results, repeated measures are utilized. If consistently lower than expected parameters, further cardiac evaluation is initiated.

Updated in October 2012, the free tool uses only 1 MB and requires Android 2.2 version and higher and is found under the medical apps in your phone market. While available in English only, the tool is simple and easy to use. It is available for free download on iTunes, Google Play and Windows or in a web-based program. Currently unrated, the app has not yet created the volume of intended users but as more healthcare centers adopt this standardized screening process for cardiac anomalies, the list will more than likely grow. Additionally, ongoing research efforts regarding the tool are being led by the Children's Center for Cardiovascular Biology in association with the Children's Hospital and Emory University.

As hospital environments continue to focus on improving safety and early detection of disease processes, applications such as this simple tool will save time, increase efficiency and support a decrease in process errors. Find the app here.


The pulseOx app for cardiac anomalies
The pulseOx app review supported the tool’s use in maternity units. It could be expanded for other population too. However, the link within your review does not work and the research under for the American Heart Association and American Academy of Pediatrics did not result in any supportive information. Another issue with the app is the lack of updates, last update noted was in 2012. Is there any further research and review of how is going?

Claudia T.November 29, 2016


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