Why do they take blood from a baby’s heel?

An abnormal oxygen level can indicate a critical heart malformation. About 24 hours after your baby is born before you’re discharged from the hospital, a nurse will administer a “heel prick” test to look for indications in the blood of rare medical conditions such as phenylketonuria or PKU.

Why is blood taken from a baby heel?

What is the heel prick test? The ‘heel prick test’ is when a blood sample is taken from a baby’s heel so that the baby’s blood can be tested for certain metabolic disorders. The blood sample is taken using an automated device called a lancet. The lancet is used to make a small puncture on the side of the baby’s heel.

Why do they poke baby’s feet?

A tiny needle prick on your newborn’s foot can tell doctors most of what they need to know about your baby’s genes. Doctors use the heel-stick test, a type of blood test, to check for a variety of (rare) genetic problems.

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Why do we prefer heel puncture on infants?

Why is blood taken from a baby’s heel? The heel is a viable source of blood whenever capillary blood is acceptable as a sample for testing. A heel stick is a simple and safe way to draw blood in newborns in situations that include the following: Only a small blood sample is required for testing.

What tests are done after a baby is born?

The newborn screening test, called the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel (RUSP), is done when your baby turns 24 hours old and is usually performed in the nursery at the hospital. The nurse will swab your baby’s heel, then prick the heel and blot five small blood samples on a testing paper.

What is the most serious complication of an infant heel stick?

With heel puncture for blood sampling there can be complications: cellulitis, abscess, necrotizing chondritis of calcaneous cartilage, and calcaneal osteomyelitis. Choosing the right depth, site and technique can minimize or avoid these complications.

What is the best food for the newborn baby?

Stick with breast milk or formula

Breast milk is the ideal food for babies — with rare exceptions. If breast-feeding isn’t possible, use infant formula. Healthy newborns don’t need cereal, water, juice or other fluids.

Can parents refuse newborn screening?

All states require screening to be performed on newborns, but most will allow parents to refuse for religious purposes. Any decision to decline or refuse testing should first be discussed with a health professional, since newborn screening is designed to protect the health of the baby.

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What do they test babies for at Birth?

Every newborn is tested for a group of health disorders that aren’t otherwise found at birth. With a simple blood test, doctors can check for rare genetic, hormone-related, and metabolic conditions that can cause serious health problems.

What is the safest area for infant heel puncture?

Therefore, in order to avoid calcaneal puncture and the risk of osteochondritis, heel puncture in the newborn should be done: (1) on the most medial or lateral portions of the plantar surface of the heel; (2) no deeper than 2.4 mm; (3) not on the posterior curvature of the heel; and (4) not through previous puncture …

How do I stop my heel stick from hurting?

“Swaddling infants while holding them in an upright position was superior for pain relief during heel lance procedures when compared with a standard position technique,” the researchers wrote. The study included 42 newborns who were randomly assigned to two groups.

What is the process when taking blood from an infant?


  1. For venipuncture blood draws, the nurse will ask your child to roll up his or her sleeve. …
  2. The nurse will wash the area with an antiseptic swab and tie a rubber cord around your child’s upper arm to make the veins bulge slightly. …
  3. The nurse will place a needle into the vein in your child’s arm.

What blood tests are done on newborns?

What are newborn screening tests?

  • Phenylketonuria (PKU). PKU is an inherited disease in which the body cannot metabolize a protein called phenylalanine. …
  • Congenital hypothyroidism. …
  • Galactosemia. …
  • Sickle cell disease. …
  • Maple syrup urine disease. …
  • Homocystinuria. …
  • Biotinidase deficiency. …
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
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What blood test do they do on newborns?

This is called a Newborn Screen Blood Test. It used to be called a PKU test. The Newborn Screen Blood Test checks to see if your baby has certain disorders (see below). Your baby may look healthy, even if he or she has one of these disorders.

What are the advantages of new born screening?

Newborn screening is an integral public health program that tests infants shortly after birth for conditions that can cause disability or death if left undetected and untreated. These state-run services facilitate early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of rare disorders, thereby reducing mortality and morbidity.

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