Newborn Screenings: March 15, 2017
Heart defects and hearing loss are just a few things that babies can be born with. Doctors say all Florida newborns undergo dozens of screenings, testing for a variety of health conditions.
Dr. Emad Salman, Medical Director of Golisano Children’s Hospital, says screenings are a vital and mandatory part of each child’s first few moments of life. “In a majority of cases, they are lifesaving. When the baby is born, within the first 24 to 48 hours we collect blood on a piece of paper and that is sent to the state lab in Jacksonville and that will test for multiple conditions.”
Newborn screenings can determine if the child is born with any genetic health condition. “You do a newborn screen, so if you diagnose something early and you have an intervention that will make a difference,” said Dr. Salman.
The state of Florida requires 31 different screenings, including infant hearing, sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, and hypothyroidism. “There are many newborn screens that have been around since the early 1980s. Over the years we have added more and more as we’ve discovered new ways to diagnose them early,” said Dr. Salman.
The goal is to identify health problems early so doctors can intervene quickly with treatment. “We have learned a lot about diseases and we have learned how to intervene and make a difference,” said Dr. Salman.
The results are examined before being sent to the child’s pediatrician. If a test result comes back abnormal, doctors can then decide the best way of treatment.