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Newborn Screening

Summary

Your newborn infant has screening tests before leaving the hospital. There may be different tests depending on the state where you live. They include

  • Tests on a few drops of blood from pricking the baby’s heel. The tests look for inherited disorders. All states test for at least 30 of these conditions.
  • A hearing test that measures the baby’s response to sound
  • A skin test that measures the level of oxygen in the blood. This can tell if the baby has a congenital heart defect.

These tests look for serious medical conditions. If not treated, some of these conditions can cause lifelong health problems. Others can cause early death. With early diagnosis, treatment can begin right away, before serious problems can occur or become permanent.

If a screening shows that your baby might have a condition, the health care provider or the state health department will call you. It is important to follow up quickly. Further testing can verify whether your baby has the condition. If so, treatment should start right away.

NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

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