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New Law Aims to Detect Infant Heart Defects

New Law Aims to Detect Infant Heart Defects

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York hospitals will be required next year to screen newborns for heart defects under a new state law.

The measure signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo will require all birthing facilities to administer the test called pulse oximetry screening.

The one-minute procedure provides early detection of heart defects that could be addressed quickly by surgery, potentially saving babies' lives.

The process involves taping a small sensor to a newborn's foot as light is beamed at the foot to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood. The screening is more effective than more common tests and some hospitals already use it.

The law takes effect in 180 days.