Newborn Genetic Screening
All infants born in Tennessee must have a newborn screening specimen submitted to the Tennessee State Laboratory to be screened for certain genetic conditions. If tests are abnormal, the Department of Health follows up with the baby’s doctor to initiate re-testing, confirmation and treatment from a specialist if necessary. Early diagnosis and treatment can make the difference between a child leading a relatively normal life or having more significant developmental delays; long-term health care needs, or even death. This is a screening test that can be affected by baby's age, medical or treatment status at the time of specimen collection; the quality and quantity of the specimen or other variables and may not detect all affected infants. The possibility of false negative or false positive results must always be considered when screening newborns for metabolic disorders.
All infants born in Tennessee should have the newborn screening filter paper collected prior to leaving the hospital. Tests may need to be repeated for a number of reasons including being improperly collected, the infant received a blood transfusion, the specimen was collected when the baby was less than 24 hours of age or a possible disorder is indicated. Parents can contact the baby’s doctor or the local health department to schedule follow-up testing. Tennessee has a comprehensive genetics program that provides access to genetic screening, diagnostic testing, and counseling services for individuals and families who have, or are at risk for, genetic disorders.
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