What is Newborn Screening (NBS)?
The Newborn Screening (NBS) is a series of tests that detect any developmental, genetic, and metabolic disorders in a newborn baby. In addition to hearing and heart screening tests, a blood test will be done to check for several disorders, including:
Organic Acid Disorders
Fatty Acid Oxidation Disorder
Urea Cycle Defect
Amino Acid Disorders
Some of these disorders are treatable; however, others, like glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, are genetic. G6PD deficiency has no known cure but with enough information, it is manageable and children with this condition can still lead normal and healthy lives.
G6PD deficiency is the lack of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase enzyme, which hastens the body’s chemical reactions when exposed to triggers. Without it, the red blood cells are easily destroyed, which can lead to anemia and cause paleness, dizziness, headaches, dark-colored urine, and abdominal or back pain.
Why is NBS important?
Babies with inherent health conditions usually appear normal at birth; however, Newborn Screening (NBS) can detect these conditions even before symptoms appear. This is why it’s strongly suggested that parents have their newborn babies screened so early intervention can be given to prevent future health complications.
How is Newborn Screening done?
Newborn Screening testing is required by law to be done 24 hours to 3 days after birth. It’s done as follows: