Minnesota Newborn Screening Program

Babies born in Minnesota benefit from having one of the most comprehensive newborn screening programs in the country. These set of tests check babies for serious, rare disorders that may not be visible at birth but if detected and diagnosed early can be treated or helped through interventions. The three tests are blood spot, hearing, and pulse oximetry screening.

  • Blood spot screening checks for about 60 rare but treatable disorders. Early detection can help prevent serious health problems, disability, and even death. Three conditions were added for screening in 2017.
  • Hearing screening checks for hearing loss. Identifying hearing loss early helps babies stay on track with speech, language, and communication skills.
  • Pulse oximetry screening checks for a set of serious heart defects known as critical congenital heart disease (CCHD). If detected early, babies with CCHD can often be treated with surgery or other medical interventions.

Results of the hearing and pulse oximetry screen results will be available on the same day of screening and will be discussed with families at that time. The blood spot screening process takes a few days. The Minnesota Department of Health shares these results with the baby’s primary care provider. The newborn screen report may include a potential diagnosis, recommended additional testing, and information about the needed   referral to a specialist.

Newborn screening follow-up expertise

Children’s Minnesota has specialists to help if any of these screens are abnormal. We partner with the Children’s Heart Clinic for cardiology outpatient care and we have extensive comprehensive ENT and audiology program for children with hearing concerns. The Metabolic and Newborn Screening Follow-up clinic offers initial confirmatory evaluations and follow-up care for children whose blood spot screens are abnormal or have a presumed or confirmed inborn error of metabolism and cystic fibrosis. Some test results may require referrals to specific specialists: cancer and blood disorders, endocrinology, cardiology, immunology, and pulmonology (cystic fibrosis).

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