LAB TESTS

At this time all babies born in West Virginia have blood drawn for a blood type and a newborn screen. The newborn screen tests for thyroid problems, galactosemia, phenylketonuria (all of these are treatable if found early enough) and sickle cell disease. Blood will be taken with a finger stick type device usually from the heel of the foot. The mark or bruise left on the foot will heal within a week or so. The results of the newborn screen test usually take about 14 to 18 days to get back, but occasionally needs repeated due to being drawn too early or being left in a hot mail truck too long or various other reasons. If this is the case, then I, my office, or the state lab will call you or mail you a card to get the test repeated. According to state law "the physician shall cause the newborn screen test" to be done before your baby leaves the hospital, but if done before 48 hours of age, then the test is inaccurate. Therefore, if your baby leaves the hospital before 48 hours of age, you will have to bring the baby back for a repeat test. You can chose to not have the test before you leave the hospital, but you must sign a paper promising to get the test done after 48 hours of age. This test is best done between 2 and 5 days of age. Also, babies are most jaundiced between 2 and 5 days of age, and if the lab personnel think your child is too yellow, then they will call us to ok a jaundice test (please see Jaundice or yellow skin in the rash section). Please do not do the repeat test on a Friday (unless specifically told to do so), as sometimes these sit in a hot mail truck over the weekend and the heat destroys the test. Also please do not wait too long to get the test as the sooner we have a diagnosis, the sooner we start treatment. Other tests may be necessary under certain circumstances and I will inform you of these as soon as possible.

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