Melissa Magstadt, South Dakota Secretary of Health

Blood Spot Screening Information For Parents

What is newborn screening?

All newborns in South Dakota are required by law to have a blood test shortly after birth to screen for metabolic and other inherited disorders. The newborn screening helps identify babies who may have one of these disorders and can alert the baby's doctor to the need for further testing and special care. With early diagnosis and medical treatment, complications from these serious but uncommon disorders may be prevented. This FAQ was written to help answer your questions about the screening tests.

Who needs to be screened?

All infants born in South Dakota.

How and when will my baby be screened?

A sample of blood is obtained by pricking the baby's heel. This sample is then placed on special paper which is sent to the designated laboratory for testing. The lab uses this one sample of blood to test for all the mandated disorders. The sample is usually obtained on the day the baby is discharged from the hospital.

How will I learn of my baby's screening results?

The results of the tests are returned directly to your baby's doctors and the hospital where your baby was born. You can ask about the results when you take your baby in for a regular check-up. Generally, parents are notified only if retesting or further testing is needed. If your baby's doctor asks you to bring your baby in for retesting or further testing, do so as soon as possible.

What if my baby needs to be retested?

There are three main reasons why a repeat screening test may be needed:

  1. there was a problem with the sample,
  2. the test was done before 24 hours of age, or
  3. the test result was abnormal.

Generally, if the results of the repeat screening test are also abnormal, the doctor will discuss the need for further treatment or testing. Your hospital and doctor must have your correct address and phone number to contact you. If your baby needs to be tested, get it done as soon as possible.

What happens to my baby’s blood sample after the lab tests it?

The newborn screening laboratory will destroy your baby’s blood sample once it is no longer needed for testing.  It will not be used for any purpose other than newborn screening.  If you have questions about how your baby’s blood sample is handled, contact the South Dakota Newborn Screening Program at (605) 773-3361.

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