Heel Prick Test For Newborn Babies
Heel Prick Test For Newborn Babies
The heel prick test is a blood test - it involves collecting a sample of blood from your baby's heel 48 hours after their birth.
Key points about the heel prick test for newborn babies
- the heel prick test is rcommended for all babies born in New Zealand
- the test involves collecting a sample of blood from your baby's heel 48 hours after their birth
- the test is part of the Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme which finds rare but life-threatening metabolic disorders along with severe combined immune deficiency (SCID)
- early treatment of conditions can prevent potentially serious complications which can cause permanent damage or even death
Why does my newborn baby need a heel prick test?
The Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme finds rare but life-threatening metabolic disorders with a blood test (heel prick test) at 48 hours after your baby's birth. Since 1969, almost all babies in New Zealand have had this screening. Early diagnosis means treatment can start quickly, before a baby becomes sick. Metabolic disorders are hard to find without screening.
Find out more about the heel prick test at the Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme website.
Check the Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme website for detailed information, including:
- about the Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme
- how the process works
- taking the blood sample
- your baby's screening test results
- about the test
- personal stories
- frequently asked questions
Check out the National Metabolic Screening Programme's booklet 'Your newborn baby's blood test' (PDF, 680KB).
How does the process work?
This diagram guides you through the newborn metabolic screening process.
Find out more about how the process works.
What are the conditions newborn babies are screened for?
The current conditions screened for are:
- amino acid disorders (for example PKU and MSUD)
- fatty acid oxidation disorders (for example MCAD)
- congenital hypothyroidism (CH)
- cystic fibrosis (CF)
- congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH)
- biotinidase deficiency
- severe combined immune deficiency (SCID)
If your baby has one of these disorders, you will receive information about the disorder and how to treat it from a paediatrician.
What if my baby is diagnosed with a metabolic disorder?
If your baby is diagnosed with a metabolic disorder, coping is an ongoing process. Everybody copes in a different way.
Find out about coping when your child is diagnosed with a chronic illness or disability.
Read about receiving a diagnosis for your child with special needs.
Where can I go for more information about metabolic disorders?
Rare Disorders New Zealand
The Rare Disorders New Zealand website is a useful source of information about resources available for patients and their whānau living with a rare disorder in New Zealand.
See the section on patient services on the Rare Disorders New Zealand website.
Newborn Screening Information website (Hawaii)
The Newborn Screening Information website provides fact sheets on the metabolic disorders screened in the New Zealand Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme. It includes descriptions of each disorder and how they can be detected and treated.
See the page on disorder fact sheets at the Newborn Screening Information website.
This page last reviewed 21 November 2022.
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