2007, Dr Ewer led the PulseOx study, a large study which assessed the accuracy of pulse oximetry for screening CCHDs in newborn babies.
It was the largest UK study in this field, screening 20,055 newborn babies, and the first to assess the added value of pulse oximetry screening in modern healthcare systems where antenatal ultrasound screening was widely available.
The study used robust methodology to generate precise estimates of the accuracy, cost-effectiveness and acceptability of pulse oximetry and the value added to existing screening. These results demonstrated that the addition of pulse oximetry screening to existing screening tests resulted in 92% of babies with CCHDs being detected prior to discharge.
The results of this study significantly enhanced available evidence indicating that pulse oximetry screening could be introduced as a routine procedure.
Dr Ewer’s team also assessed the cost-effectiveness of utilising pulse oximetry screening in combination with clinical examination in the early detection of potentially life-threatening CCHDs. They demonstrated that the technique would identify 30 additional CCHD cases per 100,000 live births compared with routine clinical examination alone, and therefore would be owrth the extra investment.