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Newborn Screening: Tests To Protect Your Baby

Newborn Screening Test

Newborn screening is a way to identify babies who are at risk for serious disorders that could be treatable, but may not be apparent at birth. This test is performed after 48hrs of your child’s birth.

Baby's heel pricked to get a small blood sample for testing

What disorders can be detected by this screening?

Phenylketonuria:  Phenylketonuria is caused when a baby is unable to break down the amino acid phenylalanine, which is found in the protein of foods. If detected early and the baby is started on a special low phenylalanine diet, mental retardation is prevented.

Congenital Hypothyroidism: Congenital Hypothyroidism is caused by the lack of thyroid hormone, which can lead to poor mental and physical growth. If detected early and treated with thyroid medication, the child will grow and develop normally.

Galactosemia: Galactosemia occurs when a baby cannot break down the galactose part of milk sugar. Sometimes it can cause damage to the brain and liver as early as in a week after birth. When started early, a special milk-free diet prevents these problems.

Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia: This occurs due to abnormal adrenal hormone synthesis which can lead to decreased stress response in the baby. The condition can be managed by supplementing steroids.

Why is this screening important?

There are no alternative ways to identify babies with these conditions. By the time any symptoms appear, the child’s development may already be impaired. If treatment is delayed in some cases, the condition may be life threatening. In rare cases, the condition may be untreatable.

But my baby looks healthy… why the screening?

Most babies with these potential disorders might seem healthy at birth but can become very sick within a short time. If not treated early, serious health problems, developmental delay and even death can occurs. NBS is the best way to identify these disorders as early as possible.

Importance of New Born Screening

Fortunately, treatment is available to prevent or greatly reduce the effects of these disorders. A simple blood test can give you critical information to protect your newborn against these disorders.

What if we have no family history of any disorders?

Parents who do not have a family history of the problems mentioned above, or who have already had healthy children can still have children with these rare disorders. In fact, most newborns with these disorders come from families with no previous history of any particular conditions.

Is there any data to support the importance of newborn screening?

In the multi-centric Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) study, 4.9% of the genetic causes of mental retardation were due to metabolic disorders. Screening of mentally retarded children in India revealed that 0.5- 2.4% of children had amino acid disorders.

When and how is this screening is done?

All tests are done with a few drops of blood taken from your newborn’s heel which is collected by the experienced hospital staff after 48 hours of your newborn’s birth.

How quickly is the report available?

The report is available in 5-7 days

NBS is a mandatory test recommended by global experts and is practised in several countries across the globe.

 About The Hospital

Ankura is a chain of  Children’s Hospital in Hyderabad. Set up in the year 2011 in KPHB, near Hitech Railway Station, the Ankura Hospitals family has today spread its wings to Secunderabad, Khammam and Vijayawada.

Source: Blogs