Atlanta docs develop app to detect heart defects

Cardiologists at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta have developed a smartphone application, Pulse Ox Tool, that can help detect congenital heart defects in newborns before they are sent home from the hospital.

“Research shows that this simple screening test for newborn babies can help prevent the delay of diagnosis of critical congenital heart defects in infants,” Dr. Matt Oster, pediatric cardiologist at Children’s Sibley Heart Center, said in an e-mailed news release. “We are thrilled to premiere this revolutionary tool to newborn nurseries and pediatric hospitals across the country.”

Oster led the development of the app, which automates pulse oximetry screening calculations. It was found in tests to have a “significantly lower” error rate than when a reading’s algorithm is calculated manually by providers, according to the release.

The release explained that the algorithm indicates whether newborns should undergo immediate tests for congenital heart defects which sometimes show no immediate symptoms. The app is available for free at iTunes, Google Play and Windows, with an online version available at

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