Newborns are routinely screened for a number of diseases in the United States. While the specifics of these newborn screening tests vary from state to state, it’s an important way to make sure that babies are healthy.
Almost 4 million babies are born in the U.S. each year, and a small percentage of those babies are born with serious disorders or life-threatening medical conditions. Newborn screening is a simple and effective way to ensure your child’s health and safety.
What is newborn screening?
Newborn screening is a series of tests to ensure that your baby is in good health. It’s standard protocol at hospitals, which means you do not have to ask for newborn screening. The screening is done before your baby leaves the hospital, typically 24 hours after birth.
Newborn screening includes a hearing test, a pulse oximeter test that measures the amount of oxygen in a baby’s blood to find evidence of heart problems, and a heel stick test.
During the heel stick, or heel prick, test, a small amount of blood is taken from the baby’s heel. The blood sample is then sent to a lab where it’s analyzed for signs of disease.
All newborns in the state of Arkansas are tested for:
- Phenylketonuria (PKU)
- Congenital Hypothyroidism (CH)
- Sickle Cell Disease (SS)
- Biotinidase Deficiency (BIOT)
- Congential Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)
- Cystic Fibrosis (CF)
- Amino Acid Disorders
- Fatty Acid Oxidation Disorders
- Organic Acid Disorders
- Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID)
If the results indicate your baby could have a disease, further testing will be done. Should the tests confirm a problem, the doctor will notify you and discuss treatment options.
Why is screening important?
Newborn screening helps ensure that babies get a healthy start to life.
These screenings may find serious, life-threatening conditions in their early, treatable stages. Newborn screenings test for conditions that are rare, and most babies test results are negative. However, the test is simple, harmless, and could be life-saving.
Detecting and treating a disorder in its earliest stages can ensure that a baby has a healthy, normal life. Most conditions found by newborn screening are treatable, and children grow up healthy.
Here’s why newborn screening is important:
- Newborn screenings test for diseases that could affect a baby’s mental or physical development.
- They prevent rare or serious diseases from doing irreversible damage to a child.
- Without newborn testing, parents would not know whether or not their child had a health condition.
- Screening tests are a small cost compared to a life of health complications.
Newborn screening helps ensure that your baby gets a healthy start to life. A pediatrician helps ensure that your baby stays on track through healthy growth and development. Contact Northwest Arkansas Pediatrics to schedule an appointment with a pediatrician in Northwest Arkansas.