LATE ANNOUNCEMENT: Hypoplastic Right Hearts will sponsor a showing of the movie Hearts of Hope at the Children’s Hospital of Denver. The showing will be at 2:00 PM Denver time on the second floor in the Mt. Oxford Room.
Pulse Oximetry tests on newborns may soon be a thing of the past.
Researchers at The University of Leeds have developed a new portable magnetometer that is so sensitive, it can detect heart abnormalities in a fetus. The new unit is smaller, faster and cheaper than other magnetometers that are available, and it is better – it can detect heart problems earlier than any technology now in use.
The human heart produces a magnetic “signature” as it beats, one that can be detected with the right equipment. A magnetometer measures magnetic fields, and this one is a special type of device known as a SQUID (Superconducting QUantum Interference Device) that is super-sensitive. In fact, the reason that they are not used more often is that they are too sensitive – the patient has to be inside of a magnetic shield or the magnetometer might pick up other magnetic fields. The new SQUID gets around that problem by better shielding the detector unit. It is also simple to use, so almost anyone with the proper training can conduct the test. (Though I am sure that they will still have to be read by a Magnetocardiologist.)
“We don’t do PulseOx tests anymore,” A nurse may tell you one day. “The prenatal SQUID test tells us everything we need to know.”