Infant heel blood testing is indicated to screen for 2 rare but serious conditions

Jane 2022-04-07

Infant heel blood testing is indicated to screen for 2 rare but serious conditions

If you, your partner or a family member heel prick test has one of these conditions (or a family history of them), please notify your health care professional immediately.

Sickle cell anemia

Approximately 270 babies are born with Sickle Cell Disease in the UK each year. This is a serious genetic blood disorder.

Sickle cell disease affects the progressive hemoglobin, the iron-rich protein in red blood cells, which is needed to deliver oxygen throughout the body.

Infants with this disease require specialized care throughout their lives.

People with sickle cell disease experience severe pain and serious, life-threatening infections. They are often anemic because their blood cells have difficulty carrying oxygen.

On-site screening tests mean that babies with sickle cell disease can be treated early to help them lead healthier lives. This may include vaccinations and antibiotics to prevent serious illnesses.

Pregnant women are also screened regularly for sickle cell disease early in their pregnancy.

Cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis affects about 1 in 2,500 babies born in the United Kingdom. This genetically transmitted systemic disease affects the digestive and pulmonary systems.

Babies with cystic fibrosis may not gain weight well and are prone to chest infections.

Infants with this disease can be treated early with a high-energy diet, medications and physical therapy.

Although children with cystic fibrosis may still be very sick, early treatment can help them live longer and healthier lives.