Banner Health Services  

Hospital tests for newborns

Louis Iorio, MD  

Louis Iorio, MD, is a Gilbert pediatrician on staff at Banner Gateway Medical Center and Cardon Children’s Medical Center.

Question:  What tests are done on newborn babies before they leave the hospital?

Answer:  All newborn infants are tested for 29 disorders before they go home from the hospital. These include a test for hearing loss and an Arizona Newborn Screen blood test. This blood test is repeated in the physician’s office between five to 10 days of age.

Significant hearing loss is present in one to three out of every 1,000 newborn infants. It is important that babies with a hearing loss be identified and given appropriate treatment and intervention within the first six months of life, a critical period for developing communication and language skills. New research shows babies with hearing loss and appropriate early intervention are much more likely to speak and understand language well. Good language skills improve a child's abilities in many areas of life such as reading, learning, and social interaction.

The Arizona Newborn Screen tests for several metabolic and genetic disorders using a few drops of blood collected from a heel stick. Most babies are healthy, but a few may have a rare health problem. Specifically, the screening tests for  a variety of blood disorders, congenital disorders, cystic fibrosis, and several other rare conditions. If diagnosed early, these disorders can often be treated to prevent mental retardation, physical disabilities, and death.

Although most of the disorders detectable by the Newborn Screen cannot be cured, many of them can be managed through a modified diet and medication if detected early. The Newborn Screening Program is conducted through the Arizona Department of Health Services, Division of Public Health Services. The program makes sure that a baby with an abnormal screening result receives diagnostic testing and follow-up care with specialists, in addition to providing education for parents and health care providers. 

Be sure to talk to your newborn’s doctor about these screenings.

Page Last Modified: 02/22/2010
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