THE BRONX - Starting Monday, all newborn babies in New York state will go through one additional screening before leaving the hospital.
The purpose of the screening is to catch a defect known as congenital heart disease before the baby even shows symptoms, if afflicted. It will be performed alongside hearing, blood and jaundice tests.
The disease, which kills 40 to 80 babies a year due to a missed or delayed diagnosis, can be caused by an abnormally formed heart, which could lead to not enough oxygen in the baby's blood circulating to the organs.
Montefiore Medical Center has already begun performing the screenings, but it will become law on Monday.
A small bandage-like tool is applied to the baby's wrist and foot to measure oxygen levels to check for abnormalities.
Heart disease has been named the leading cause of death among newborns.