Newborn Screening

What is Newborn Screening?

The goal of newborn screening is to detect genetic, metabolic or congenital disorders which are present at the time of birth. Children with these disorders usually look normal when they are born, but if they are found and treated early it is often possible to prevent physical disabilities, mental retardation and early deaths.

How is the test performed?

A blood specimen is taken from every newborn before leaving the hospital. The baby's heel is pricked and a few drops of blood are collected on a filter paper specimen form. Then the specimen is sent to a laboratory for testing.

How will I get the results?

Your baby's doctor will receive a report with the test results within 2 weeks. The doctor will be able to review the results with you at baby's first visit.

What does an abnormal result mean?

An abnormal screening test result does not always mean that a baby has the disease. Babies with abnormal results must have further testing done to find out if they truly have the disorder. If the diagnosis is confirmed, the child may need referral for specialized care.

Which disorders does Louisiana test for?

The Newborn Screening Program currently tests all babies born in Louisiana for 29 disorders. Go back to Newborn Screening Home for a list of the disorders. Click on each disorder name for descriptions and links to more information.