Newborn Screening

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Newborn Screening
Newborn Screening
Video: Newborn Screening
Video: The Public Health Lab: Newborn Screening 2023, February
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Newborn screening

As part of the newborn screening, all newborns in Austria are examined for congenital metabolic diseases. Such diseases are rare, but early detection within the first days of life is a prerequisite for successful treatment. If the diseases remain undetected, severe organ damage can result.

The Austrian early detection program was launched in the 1960s and takes place centrally for all of Austria at the Medical University of Vienna.

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  • How is newborn screening carried out?
  • Which diseases can be detected by the screening?
  • Whom can I ask?
  • How are the costs going to be covered?

How is newborn screening carried out?

With a small prick in the newborn's heel, some drops of blood are removed and placed on a special filter paper card. This is sent to the screening laboratory of the Medical University Clinic Vienna. There the blood sample is examined for the presence of certain proteins, hormones and metabolic products. The report is made within a few days.

Which diseases can be detected by the screening?

In newborn screening, the newborn's blood is tested for various metabolic diseases, such as adrenogenital syndrome, congenital hypothyroidism, phenylketonuria, cystic fibrosis and disorders of the amino acid, protein, fat, vitamin or carbohydrate metabolism.

Congenital metabolic diseases are hereditary or genetic diseases. Most metabolic diseases are easily treatable. Early diagnosis is essential, however, because the earlier treatment is started, the better the prognosis. The screening identified around 150 congenital diseases in 2018. This enables treatment before the defect leaves any damage to the organism.

Here you can find detailed information on the subject of newborn screening.

Whom can I ask?

The examinations for possible metabolic diseases are carried out for all of Austria in the screening laboratory at the University Clinic for Pediatrics in Vienna.

The blood sample should be taken between 36 and 72 hours after the birth and can be carried out by the following people or at the following locations:

  • Pediatrician
  • General Practitioner,
  • Midwife,
  • in hospitals,
  • in outpatient departments of the regional health insurance funds.

The newborn screening can only be carried out with the written consent of the mother or parents.

How are the costs going to be covered?

The parents do not incur any costs for this examination. Any therapy that may be required is covered by social insurance.

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