A heart check at birth.
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All newborns are screened for heart defects with a test called pulse oximetry. Sensors are placed on the skin to check for low oxygen levels, which could signal a congenital heart problem. Sometimes, there are no symptoms of a defect, but the more serious types will be apparent quickly and may affect a child’s ability to eat and gain weight. Other symptoms may include extreme fatigue, breathing trouble, or a bluish tint to the lips and nails. These problems could arise a few days after birth, or much later. A doctor may detect abnormal heart rhythms, sounds, or shortness of breath during a physical. Several tests, including an echocardiogram, can confirm a diagnosis.