minnesota newborn screening program
Almost every day in Minnesota a baby is found to have one of the disorders detected by the newborn screening panel. Because newborn screening is, as the name suggests, screening and not diagnostic testing, more babies will have positive or abnormal results than will ultimately be found to be affected. The Newborn Screening Program is constantly striving to reduce the number of false positive results while ensuring that no affected babies are missed.
All positive results require follow-up diagnostic testing to determine if the infant is truly affected. The Newborn Screening Program immediately notifies the physician providing follow-up care for the infant. Simultaneously, the Minnesota Department of Health may notify an appropriate specialist (hematologist, metabolic geneticist, endocrinologist, pulmonologist). The infant’s primary care provider can use the specialist as a resource in order to develop an evaluation plan for the baby.
Laboratory evaluation of the infant (PDF: 137KB/1page)
By the time you receive copies of the infants’ newborn screening results by mail, the Newborn Screening Program has already ensured that infants with positive or abnormal results have been connected to a health care provider.
After receiving one, two, or even three abnormal screen results that turn out to be false positives, it can be easy to dismiss the recommendations made by MDH on any future positive newborn screens that come your way.
DO NOT DELAY FOLLOW-UP. As with any screening test, some false positive results occur as part of an overall strategy aimed at minimizing the number of false negative results.
Providing follow-up after an abnormal newborn screen is part of the newborn screening process; explaining this component of newborn screening to parents can help reduce parental anxiety, but by dismissing the newborn screening result or not initiating prompt follow-up, you are putting the baby at potential risk.
Occasionally, newborn screening staff will ask you to collect a repeat newborn screen. Repeat newborn screening might be requested if the first screen was unable to be tested properly or had borderline results. The midwife can collect the screen or ask the parents to obtain the rescreen in another setting. For information on how to order newborn screening cards, please visit the Newborn Screening Specimen Card/Ordering Page.
False negatives, while rare, can happen in newborn screening. If a child is found to have a disorder after a negative screening test, please notify the Newborn Screening Program.
For parents of children born after November 16, 2011:
If the child is more than 71 days old at the time the false negative is identified, the remaining specimen will have been destroyed and program staff will not be able to re-test for further information. If the child is more than 2 years of age, the program will not have a record of the testing results and you will have to obtain the child's medical records.
Please have the family follow-up on any symptoms of newborn screening disorders immediately – regardless of the newborn screening results!Updated Wednesday, 24-Jul-2013 11:49:46 CDT