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QOD: Is a repeat heel stick for a newborn screen necessary?

Yes! The Newborn Screen is a blood test in which the baby’s heel is pricked with a lancet, and drops of blood are placed on a piece of filter paper. The screen looks for the presence of up to 31 different diseases that are not obvious at birth (ex. Cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and primary congenital hypothyroidism).

The goal of the test is to pick up on rare diseases before the baby becomes ill from them, and the test is performed on every baby born in the US unless a parent refuses. Occasionally, the test comes back “inadequate” which means that the blood sample was either too little, too much, or the filter paper was damaged in transport. In these cases, it is a good idea to allow your pediatrician’s office to repeat the test.

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