Why should my baby have the Newborn Blood Spot Screening test?
This test is offered to all babies within the first week of life. It identifies babies who may have rare but serious conditions. Most babies screened will not have any conditions but, for the small numbers that do, the benefits of screening are enormous. Early treatment can improve their health and prevent severe disability or even death.
About 1 in 10,000 babies born in the UK has Phenylketonuria. Babies with this inherited condition are unable to process phenylanine, a substance in the blood and if not treated by a special diet very early in life, could lead to irreversible mental disability. If not screened and the condition is discovered later in life, the special diet will not make a difference.
About 1 in 4,000 babies born in the UK has congenital hypothyroidism (CHT). They do not have enough of the hormone called thyroxine which is essential for growth and can lead to serious, permanent physical and mental disability.
Sickle cell disorders
About 1 in 2,500 babies has (SCD) which is an inherited blood disorder of the red blood cells. The blood of babies with this disorder can change the shape of a sickle and become stuck in the small blood vessels. This can cause pain and damge to the baby’s body.
Screening means that baby can receive early treatment, including immunisations and antibiotics which will help his/her to lead a healthier life, preventing serious illness and helping the parents to know what to look for through eduction.
About 1 in 2,500 babies born in the UK has cystic fibrosis (CF). This is also an inherited condition which affects the digestion and lungs. Babies with this condition may not gain weight well and have frequent chest infections.
Following screening can have a high energy diet, medicines and physiotherapy
Further information is available at http://www.newbornscreening-bloodspot.org.uk