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Screening tests help your doctor look for a certain disease or condition before any symptoms appear. All provinces offer newborn blood spot screening, although the conditions screened for vary from province to province. In Alberta, the conditions screened for include:
This test is done to find out whether your baby is at risk of having certain conditions that could eventually cause problems. When discovered early, these conditions can be treated to improve the child's health.
In general, you don't need to prepare your baby for this test.
The baby's heel is poked, using a small plastic object called a lancet, and several drops of blood are collected. Your baby may have a tiny bruise where the heel was poked.
Soft headphones are used on or near the baby's ears. Tones or clicks are used to test for a hearing response. Sometimes small electrodes are placed on the baby's head.
If the test result is abnormal, remember that this is only a screening test. An abnormal result only means that further testing is needed.
The test will take a few minutes.
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if you have questions.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines your child takes. Your doctor will have the results of the test by the time your child is 2 weeks old. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your child's test results.
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Adaptation Date: 2/8/2023
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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