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Newborns > Kansas State Newborn Screen

Kansas State Newborn Screen

newborn.jpgNewborn screening is important because many diseases and conditions do not have any visible symptoms early in life. Unless these diseases are identified and treated early, they can cause severe illness, mental retardation, or even death.

Overview

The Kansas newborn screening program has been available since 1965, but as of July 1, 2008, the program has expanded to offer screening of 29 conditions. These include a large number of metabolic diseases, hemoglobin abnormalities, cystic fibrosis, galactosemia, thyroid disorders, phenylketonuria (PKU), and others. For a complete list, click here.

Testing

Testing for these conditions must be done after 24 hours of age. It is done with a heel prick to collect a sample of blood. The sample is sent to the State public health laboratory where the testing is performed by tandem mass technology.

All newborns born in Kansas are required to be tested. The state covers the cost. Some babies need to have their newborn screen repeated. Retesting can be due to inadequate sample or abnormal results.

Inadequate samples are unable to be run due to various reasons, such as if it was drawn at less than 24 hours of age, it was an insufficient amount of blood, or the sample was damaged in transit to the lab.

Abnormal results may be true positives or false positives.

True positives mean the child does have the condition for which he was screened and the test suggests this diagnosis.

False positives mean the child is normal, but the screening suggests a disease.

Both true positives and false positives must be repeated to validate the screen.

If the repeat screen is positive, it does not prove the disease. Another test must be done to confirm the diagnosis. Often this is another blood test, but it might involve other types of testing, such as sweat collection for cystic fibrosis, or urine testing for metabolic diseases.
If the repeat screen is negative and the infant does not have symptoms of the condition, no further testing is required.

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