Legislation to require a more effective heart screening of Oklahoma’s youngest residents was approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives Tuesday.

House Bill 1347, by state Rep. Dan Kirby, would require hospitals and other birthing facilities to perform a pulse oximetry screening on every newborn prior to discharge from the facility.

The legislation was endorsed by a Monday Tulsa World editorial.

“Pulse oximetry screenings are the newest and best way to detect congenital heart defects that are often not identified by other methods,” said Kirby, R-Tulsa. “Requiring these screenings will ensure more newborns survive their first weeks of life and have fewer health problems as they continue to grow and develop.”

The pulse oximetry screening is a noninvasive test that measures the percentage of hemoglobin in blood that is saturated with oxygen.

Congenital heart defects are the No. 1 killer in infants with birth defects.

House Bill 1347 was approved by a 91-2 vote. The legislation now advances to the state Senate.