The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study on October 8, 2020, that documented the improvement of oxygen levels in a newborn immediately following a chiropractic adjustment. The improvement was measured in real-time using a pulse oximeter.
The study begins by noting that “Pulse oximetry (PO) is routinely used in neonatal evaluation to assess for congenital heart disease (CHD).” According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, “The pulse-oximetry test can help identify infants with low levels of oxygen in their blood and may help diagnose critical CHD (congenital heart disease) before an infant becomes sick.” The study reports that CHD is one of the most common birth defects affecting nine out of every 1000 newborns.
Pulse oximetry has become a common non-invasive test used shortly after birth to help reduce the risk of CHD by early detection. The study reported how common the PO test has become by noting, “Recently the Canadian Cardiovascular Society and the Canadian Pediatric Cardiology Association issued a position statement strongly recommending that PO evaluation be done in all healthy newborns, and multiple states in the United States have made PO evaluation of neonates mandatory.”
In this case, an 8-pound female infant was born at home with the assistance of a certified midwife. The pregnancy was full-term and had no complications. Immediately after the birth, the midwife performed an evaluation of the infant which included a pulse oximeter being placed on the infant’s right foot. After three minutes, the PO reading was 73%. A normal reading for an infant should be above 95%.
Due to the low oxygen level, the infant was administered oxygen which caused the PO reading to rise to 93%. However, when the oxygen was removed, the PO reading would once again drop down to 85%. Because of this situation, and in accordance with state protocol, the midwife informed the parents that their newborn might need to be transported to the emergency room due to the possibility of Congenital Heart Disease.
A pediatric chiropractor was asked to evaluate the infant for the presence of vertebral subluxations. Subluxations, especially in the upper neck, are a common concern due to possible trauma during the birth process. An examination of the infant’s neck was performed which showed some segmental mobility issues. With this finding as well as other chiropractic checks, it was determined that a subluxation was present in the infant at the top of the neck area.
An age and size appropriate specific chiropractic adjustment was given to the infant using a sustained pressure at the area of subluxation. The study reported that, in-real-time, the pulse oximetry (PO) reading returned to a normal 95% immediately upon the infant getting the chiropractic adjustment. The PO reading continued to remain normal for the entire time the midwife monitored the newborn. Due to this immediate and positive change, the midwife determined that the infant would not need to be taken to the hospital.
In their conclusion the authors of this study wrote, “This case study provides supporting evidence of the benefits of subluxation-based chiropractic care in the improvement of pulse oximetry readings in neonates. Obstetric health care providers must be aware of cases like this, as low-risk interventions such as pediatric chiropractic could prevent more invasive medical treatments for patients.”