Nebraska health officials spread awareness of newborn screening tests

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Pediatricians and doctors use September to spread awareness of how crucial screening tests are for a newborn’s health.

Nebraska is one of only 16 states that screen for all 35 disorders that are recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Annually, about 60 children are identified with a condition found through newborn screening.

Nebraska’s first screenings back in 1967 were done by taking a few drops of blood from the infant’s heel for a blood spot test.

Now screenings include bloodspot, hearing and pulse oximetry testing to check for critical congenital heart disease.  

Nebraska law dictates that all newborns be screened to prevent intellectual disabilities, brain and organ damage, seizures, strokes and other long-term health issues.

The first disease Nebraska screened for was phenylketonuria (PKU), an inherited metabolic disorder that is caused by a defect in an enzyme.

By diagnosing this disease at birth, newborns avoid the irreversible damage PKU can cause when a baby first starts showing symptoms.

More information on newborn screenings can be found here.

Categories: Health, Nebraska News, News