The PKU test is another common procedure performed by obtaining a newborn blood sample via heel stick to screen the baby for Phenylketonuria (PKU) and other metabolic disorders. All states currently screen for PKU, hypothyroidism and galactosemia and some screen for sickle cell anemia and congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) as well. In other states, as many as 30 metabolic disorders will be ruled out.
This screening is used to determine the presence of serious metabolic disorders which can be fatal or debilitating if not caught and treated early. PKU, or Phenylketonuria, is one of the primary offenders that is ruled out by this screening. Other disorders can all have devastating effects if not caught and treated early.
When completed by a skilled nurse or phlebotomist, the baby may not even wake after the stick. To ensure that the baby only needs one stick, make sure that the baby's heels are very warm to increase blood flow to the area. This procedure will have to be repeated if a large enough sample isn't obtained the first time.
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Page Last Modified by Catherine Beier, MS, CBE
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