The goal of newborn screening is to detect genetic, metabolic or congenital disorders which are present at the time of birth. Children with these disorders usually look normal when they are born, but if they are found and treated early it is often possible to prevent physical disabilities, mental retardation and early deaths.
A blood specimen is taken from every newborn before leaving the hospital. The baby's heel is pricked and a few drops of blood are collected on a filter paper specimen form. Then the specimen is sent to a laboratory for testing.
An abnormal screening test result does not always mean that a baby has the disease. Babies with abnormal results must have further testing done to find out if they truly have the disorder. If the diagnosis is confirmed, the child may need referral for specialized care.
The Newborn Screening Program currently tests all babies born in Louisiana for 28 disorders. Go back to Newborn Screening Home for a list of the disorders. Click on each disorder name for descriptions and links to more information.
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