State law requires two screenings for newborns: dried blood spot screening and screening for critical congenital heart disease, or CCHD. This page gives information about both types of screenings.
Newborn screening helps identify babies who may be at risk for a number of rare genetic and inherited health conditions that could cause developmental delays, slow growth, severe illness, brain damage, and possibly death. In Idaho, newborns are required to be screened twice. the first screening is done within 24-48 hours of birth and the second screening is done within 10-15 days of birth (excluding NICU infants). While many disorders will be detected on the first screening, there are some conditions that are not detected until your baby is about two weeks old. With just a few drops of blood from your baby’s heel, we can test for 51 rare conditions that, if left untreated, could harm your baby.
For infants born “out of hospital”
- The person responsible for registering the birth of the child is also responsible for assuring that a proper specimen is collected and submitted
- Parents or guardians will be given a filter paper test kit for the second specimen when leaving the hospital or birthing facility
- Your doctor’s office or some hospitals or their laboratories will collect the specimen on the kit at 10 to 15 days of age and send it to the Washington State Public Health Laboratory
While most babies are born healthy, some babies may be born with a serious medical condition that may not be apparent at birth. Newborn screening effectively detects harmful or potentially fatal disorders, with early diagnosis and proper treatment, can make the difference between lifelong impairment and healthy development.
After Newborn Screening is completed, the small amount of dried blood that remains on the filter paper card is saved in case it needs to be retested or used to adjust the instruments to assure proper performance for testing. No blood spots collected in Idaho will be used for research. All blood spots are destroyed at one year. Parents may request their child's dried blood spot collection card from the Washington State Public Health Laboratory. (Request form)
Your health care provider will contact you immediately if there is anything abnormal about your baby’s test results. Abnormal results do not mean your baby has one of the conditions. It simply means additional testing is needed. The laboratory, your provider, the Newborn Screening Program, and other specialists will all work cooperatively to ensure that your baby receives immediate follow-up care. It is very important your healthcare provider has your most current address and telephone number.
Parents have the right to refuse the screening tests for their newborn infant due to religious objections. Discuss this decision with your healthcare provider. If you decide to decline the screening, you will be asked to sign an informed dissent document that releases your healthcare provider from liability.
CCHD is one of the conditions found through newborn screening. CCHD refers to a group of heart defects that can be serious and life-threatening. These defects can include structural problems in the heart or problems with blood flow in the heart. These problems range from mild to severe. CCHD is often treatable, if caught early. Screening must be done when the baby is at least 24 hours of age, or as late as possible if the baby will be discharged from the hospital before 24 hours of age. Healthcare professionals check for CCHD by using pulse oximetry (or pulse ox). Pulse oximetry is a painless, noninvasive test that measures the amount of oxygen in your baby's blood.
||CCHD brochure in English|