Changes to newborn heel-prick test

Changes to newborn heel-prick test

Your newborn's heel is pricked and the blood is used to test for diseases such as Cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease.

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All mums are familiar with the heel-prick test for their newborns, where their newborn's heel is pricked and the blood is used to test for diseases such as Cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease. 

This new year, newborn babies across England will also be screened for four rarer conditions through this test.

Babies currently have the heel-prick test at between five and eight days old which checks for:

Phenylketonuria (PKU),
Congenital hypothyroidism (CHT),
Sickle cell disease
Cystic fibrosis
Medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MCADD).

The extra conditions which will now also be tested for are:

Maple syrup urine disease
Homocystinuria
Glutaric acidaemia type 1
Isovaleric acidaemia.

These are all inherited conditions where babies have problems breaking down amino acids, the "building blocks" of proteins, and this test can now help identify them earlier.

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