Most newborns are born healthy and normal. However, there are some health problems that may not be detected on a routine exam by your baby's physician. This is why blood tests are used to screen newborns for these problems. A filter paper blood spot sample is required by state law to be submitted to the Tennessee State Laboratory for every baby born in Tennessee. A newborn baby may look perfectly healthy, but still have an inherited disease. To prevent the effects of disease, the sample should be drawn during the infant's first two to three days of life.
How and Where Your Baby is Tested?
Before your baby leaves the hospital nursery, his or her heel will be pricked and a few drops of blood will be collected. This blood specimen will be sent to the State Laboratory in Nashville for testing. The hospital will also provide you with a Parent Pamphlet giving you more details about newborn screening.
What Happens to the Extra Blood after the Test?
The extra blood is stored at the Department of Health Laboratory for one year. It is stored in case the blood is requested by you or the baby’s doctor in the future. The lab also uses it to do quality checks, to make sure the machines are working right or to evaluate new tests to help more babies in the future. Stored blood used for these reasons will have name, address and other information removed so the sample cannot be traced back to your baby.
What is the Parents' Role?
After you get home from the hospital, you may be contacted by your baby's doctor or the local health department to bring your baby in for a repeat blood sample. It is important that you follow-up quickly. If you have any concerns about the results of the screening tests, please contact your baby's health care provider.
Disease Descriptions for Parents:
- Amino Acid Disorders
- Biotinidase Deficiency
- Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
- Congenital Hypothyroidism
- Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD)
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Fatty Acid Oxidation Disorders
- Hemoglobinopathies (Sickle Cell Anemia)
- Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD)
- Medium Chain Acyl CoA Dehydrogenase (MCAD) Deficiency
- Organic Acid Disorders
- Phenylketonuria (PKU)
- Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID)