All newborns in Ireland are screened for six rare conditions - here's what to expect
In Ireland, the 'Heel Prick Test' screens all newborn babies for six rare conditions.
The tests ensure that any rare conditions are identified quickly, efficiently and treated as soon as possible.
Although the screenings are not mandatory, it is strongly advised to make sure your baby is in peak health and carrying no underlying condition that could ultimately get worse if not treated.
In Ireland, all babies are offered screening for:
- Phenylketonuria (PKU)
- Maple Syrup Urine Disease
- Classical Galactosaemia
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Congenital Hypothyroidism
The test is carried out in a matter of minutes and the nurses are on hand to ensure your child feels as minimal pain as possible.
The Newborn Bloodspot Screening Test is done between 72 hours and 120 hours after your baby is born. The public health nurse or midwife will prick your baby’s heel using a special device to collect some drops of blood onto a special card. When the sample is collected, the newborn screening card is sent to the National Newborn Bloodspot Screening Laboratory at the Children’s University Hospital in Temple Street for testing.
In terms of results, most babies will have normal test results. If the results find find signs of one of these conditions, then you will be contacted by a nurse or doctor, the time interval will range within five to seven days of the test or possibly up to four weeks depending on the condition and you will have to return to the hospital for more tests and potentially stay overnight.
If your baby has one of these rare conditions, you will be referred to a specialist centre. This will depend on the condition identified. For most conditions your child will be referred to the Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, Dublin, but for those suspected of having Cystic Fibrosis to a hospital in Dublin, Cork, Limerick or Galway.
Once your baby is in the hands of the specialist, it can begin receiving treatment and reaching peak health.
You can read all about the specific conditions and more information on the test here.