Test: Blood Spot Screening Tests

Shortly after birth, newborn babies are given blood spot screening tests to check for several rare but potentially serious disorders. All babies are screened for phenylketonuria, hypothyroidism, and cystic fibrosis. In some areas babies are also screened for other disorders, such as sickle cell disease and the metabolic disorder MCADD. The blood sample is obtained by pricking the baby’s heel and collecting the blood on a special card. The card is sent to a laboratory for analysis and the results are available in a few days.

During the test

After pricking the side of the baby’s heel, a few drops of blood are squeezed on to an absorbent test card.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

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