Screening in Babies

Screening in babies or screening tests in newborns are blood tests that are performed to identify the baby’s risk of suffering from certain diseases such as developmental problems, structural components or metabolic deficits.

This is achieved by identifying markers in the blood and seeking to establish risk factors early, especially for metabolic and congenital disorders. For example, with markers for diabetes, congenital hypothyroidism, congenital rubella, among others.

The importance of these tests is that, when confirming the disease, treatment can be started even before the first symptoms appear or the disease develops further.

It is recommended that these screening tests be performed between 5 and 9 days after birth, in the case of premature babies, it is recommended to wait 15 days to 30 days after delivery.

In the event that the test results are abnormal, the test should be repeated to confirm the results.

See Also: Routines for your Baby to Sleep Better.

Congenital hypothyroidism

It is very important, for example, in congenital hypothyroidism, as it is the first disease that can be prevented and causes mental retardation. In fact, in the Compulsory Health Plan this test is mandatory in all newborns.

Congenital hypothyroidism is a disease in which the baby is born without the ability to produce normal amounts of thyroid hormone. This hormone is very important in the development of the baby’s brain and in its growth in general.

This disease can trigger growth retardation or intellectual disabilities, which can be avoided with early diagnosis and proper treatment.

Some symptoms of this disease are weak crying, excessive sleepiness, jaundice, constipation and poor diet, that is, you do not have enough capacity to breastfeed. Other physical signs that the doctor can observe is that the baby may have a swollen face, distended abdomen, large tongue and poor muscle strength.

Ways to Perform Screening Tests on Babies

Blood: A few drops of blood are taken from the baby’s heel that will be used for laboratory testing.

Detection of critical congenital heart disease with oximeter: with the help of a soft sensor that fits on the baby’s skin, oxygen levels in the hand and foot will be measured.

Audiometry: For this test, electrodes can be used on the baby’s head while sleeping or being calm, or using a headset or microphone in the newborn’s ear.

Possible Disorders to Identify with these Tests

Blood tests will be used to identify about 40 disorders, among which are:

  1. Toxoplasmosis
    2. Cystic fibrosis
    3. Congenital hypothyroidism
    4. Cystic fibrosis
    5. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
    6. HIV
    7. Phenylketonuria, a hereditary disease that causes brain damage
    8. Sickle cell disease
    9. Hemoglobin disorders
    10. Biotinidase deficiency
    11 Amino acid
    metabolism disorders 12. Fatty acid metabolism disorders
    13. Galactosemia


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