Newborn Screening

Giving Your Child the Best Start Through Early Testing

The Newborn Screening Program at the Carondelet is designed to detect newborns with health problems that can be treated, help to start treatment early in life and prevent developmental delays or other problems. You can help by making sure your baby is screened before he or she leaves the hospital, and then taking your baby to your health care provider or clinic for a second screening at 7-14 days of age.

How the Newborn Screening Works

To begin the screening process, we start by taking tiny samples of blood from your baby’s heel about two days after birth, then we send the samples to the Arizona Department of Health Services in Phoenix for testing. Tests are repeated one to two weeks later with your health care provider. If the screening tests show a possible health problem, your baby will need a follow-up test.

For some conditions, your health care team may start treating the baby right away.

If your child has a health problem, acting early is important. If your health care provider asks you to bring your baby in for a follow-up test, do so as soon as possible.

  • Be sure to give your correct address and phone number to the hospital or health care provider.
  • If you don’t have a telephone, leave the phone number of a friend, relative, or neighbor with the health care provider or hospital.
  • If you move soon after your baby is born, let your health care provider know right away, so they can reach you if your child needs a follow-up test.

Hearing Screening

A hearing screening is important for your newborn baby because it is one of the most common birth disabilities. Language learning starts at birth, so if your baby can’t hear, learning to speak will be difficult. If you find hearing loss early, your baby can get help. Also, if you start before your baby is 6 months old, he or she may learn language like babies who do not have hearing loss.

After your baby’s hearing is screened, you will be given either a “Pass” or a “Refer” result. “Pass” means that your baby can hear well enough to learn language. It is important to keep track of how your baby’s language develops. Sometimes, hearing problems develop later in a baby’s development.

“Refer” means that your baby needs to have more testing. Refer does not mean that your baby definitely has hearing loss. It does mean that it is important to test your baby again. The hospital or your baby’s health care provider will help you get this testing.

Critical Congenital Heart Disease Screening (CCHD)

Critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) represents a group of heart defects that cause serious, life-threatening symptoms and requires intervention within the first days or first year of life. CCHD is often treatable if detected early. It can encompass abnormalities in the rhythm of the heart, as well as a wide array of structural heart problems. These problems can range from mild (never requiring cardiac surgery), to severe (requiring multiple different stages of open heart surgeries). CCHD can involve abnormal or absent chambers, holes in the heart, abnormal connections in the heart, and abnormalities in the function or squeeze of the heart. Most congenital heart conditions affect patients from childhood through adulthood.

Some babies affected with CCHD can look and act healthy at first, but within hours or days after birth they can have serious complications. Pulse oximetry newborn screening is a non-invasive test that measures how much oxygen is in the blood and can help to identify babies that may be affected with CCHD before they leave the newborn nursery. If detected early, infants affected with CCHD can often be treated and lead longer, healthier lives.

Learn More

You can find additional information about newborn screening on the Arizona Department of Health Services website.

Information on specific critical congenital heart defects can be found on the Centers for Disease Control website.

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