New Born Screening (NBS) is done to screen a newborn baby within 24-72 hours of his/her birth. It is a simple screening test which screens the newborn and identifies if the child has an inborn error of metabolism disorder, that was not observable during the time of birth. These disorders are treatable if they are identified at an early stage. Newborn screening helps in early diagnosis and proper treatment of these disorders thereby making a difference between lifelong impairment and healthy development of the baby.
For newborn screening a small amount of blood sample is collected by a simple heel prick method. The test will take around 4-5 working days and then the result are then sent to the healthcare provider for further analysis. If the test result is positive, then further confirmatory tests are recommended and action plan for follow-up testing and treatment should start for proper management of the disorder.
Some of the salient features are described below for new born screening:
• At birth, baby can appear normal and healthy, but this may not be the case. Normally, after sometime they begin to show symptoms. Newborn screening aims to identify these babies so that care can be begun as soon as possible. Baby might have a condition even if there is no family history.
• Newborn screening will detect these disorders before they become noticeable, thereby allowing both parents and children to live their normal lives.
• Newborn screening is primarily a single time investment that can provide parents with clarification and peace of mind. Lack of immediate diagnosis and management will result in lenghthy hospital bills, additional medical testing and intensive care as well.
• Although the result comes out to be positive for any of the covered conditions, there is nothing to worry about as there are different types of tests and treatments that may help children fight with the disorders and lead a healthy live. Let us take an example of one such condition covered in new born screening: phenylketonuria in which babies are unable to process phenylketonuria, but for this even a small change in the diet of babies can make a lot of difference. Since phenylketonuria can be found mostly in certain sweeteners, protein-rich foods, the buildup of it can affect brain functioning and also cause irreversible brain damage. Babies with PKU are usually put on a special diet at the earliest.
• Medicines are needed for other conditions such as hypothyroidism where babies are unable to produce enough thyroid hormone in their bodies which if untreated can slow down growth drastically.
• It also makes sure that babies with critical conditions are quickly identified and treated.
• Newborn screening can save a child’s life or also can help in making the life easy with the help of the provided medications. The collection method is safe and easy. It takes only a moment of time to get the blood sample by simple heel prick. And thereafter you can have the assurance of the health of your baby and enjoy your parenting peacefully.
New born screening is a comprehensive test which is performed on the newly born babies within 24-72 hours of their birth. It identifies if the baby has an inborn error of metabolism,that are not observed during the birth. All these disorders can be treated if they are identified at the right time. But if not treated on time these can lead to some serious issues like disability in the baby, problems in the proper development of brain and immune system.