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Capitol Health Call
February 14, 2017

Concerns Over Newborn Screening

JAMA. 2017;317(6):576. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.0080

State public health agencies mandate blood draws from virtually all 4 million neonates born in the United States each year. The samples are tested for a host of inborn conditions that can be harmful, even fatal, if not treated soon after birth. Included are metabolic disorders, like galactosemia, and conditions such as congenital hypothyroidism.

Nearly 12 000 affected infants are identified annually and need swift treatment. But there are delays in getting test results back promptly. Reasons for delays range from failure to perform early screening following out-of-hospital births and the remoteness of rural hospitals to limited courier availability to convey blood specimens to labs and insufficient lab hours.