Newborn screening detects conditions that may have long-term consequences for a child’s well-being or survival. Timely screening, diagnosis, and intervention can save lives and allow kids to achieve their full potential. Large numbers of babies in the United States are regularly tested for genetic, endocrine, and metabolic disease, as well as hearing loss and congenital heart defects, prior to release from a hospital or center, utilizing a few blood samples from the newborn’s heel.

How The Test Is Conducted

The following techniques are used for screening:

  • Hearing Test. A doctor will place a tiny earpiece or microphone in the baby’s ear. Another procedure involves placing electrodes on the head while the baby is quiet or asleep.
  • Blood Test. Several drops of blood are extracted from the baby’s heel. 
  • CCHD Screening. A provider will apply a small soft sensor to the baby’s skin and connect it to an oximeter for a few minutes. The oxygen levels in hand and foot will be measured.

There is no need to prepare for newborn screening tests. When the baby is between twenty-four hours and seven days old, the tests are usually performed before leaving the hospital.

What Will The Test Feel Like?

The baby will probably cry when the heel is pricked to obtain a blood sample. Babies who have their mothers hold them or breastfeed them during the procedures are less disturbed. Covering the baby in a blanket or giving him a pacifier may also help to soothe pain and calm the baby.

Why Is The Test Done?

Screening tests are not used to diagnose illnesses. They identify which babies need further testing to confirm their diagnosis. If additional testing reveals that the child is suffering from a disease, therapies can begin before symptoms occur.

A variety of disorders are detected using blood screening tests. Some examples might be:

  • Galactosemia
  • Amino acid metabolism disease
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Biotinidase deficiency
  • HIV
  • Fatty acid metabolism disorders
  • PKU
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • G6PD

Newborn testing is essential in order for the baby to receive the right treatment. Treatment may save a person’s life. Nevertheless, not all detectable disorders can be cured.

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