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Newborn Screening

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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

Start Here

  • How Is Newborn Screening Done? From the National Institutes of Health (Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in Spanish
  • Newborn Screening (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Newborn Screening Tests (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
  • What Disorders Are Newborns Screened for in the United States? From the National Institutes of Health (Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in Spanish

Related Issues

  • How Are My Newborn's Screening Results Used? From the National Institutes of Health (Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in Spanish

Specifics

Genetics

Clinical Trials

  • ClinicalTrials.gov: Neonatal Screening From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

  • Article: Analysis of Newborn Hearing Screening Results in South Korea after National...
  • Article: Significant hyperbilirubinemia among well neonates due for discharge at Kawempe-Mulago Hospital,...
  • Article: The view of Hong Kong parents on secondary use of dried...
  • Newborn Screening -- see more articles

Reference Desk

  • Glossary From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Biotechnology Information)

Find an Expert

  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development From the National Institutes of Health Also in Spanish
  • March of Dimes Foundation Also in Spanish
  • National Human Genome Research Institute From the National Institutes of Health

Patient Handouts

The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.

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