Newborn screening

Clin Biochem Rev. 2010 May;31(2):57-68.


Early detection of many disorders, mainly inherited, is feasible with population-wide analysis of newborn dried blood spot samples. Phenylketonuria was the prototype disorder for newborn screening (NBS) and early dietary treatment has resulted in vastly improved outcomes for this disorder. Testing for primary hypothyroidism and cystic fibrosis (CF) was later added to NBS programs following the development of robust immunoassays and molecular testing. Current CF testing usually relies on a combined immunoreactive trypsin/mutation detection strategy. Multiplex testing for approximately 25 inborn errors of metabolism using tandem mass spectrometry is a relatively recent addition to NBS. The simultaneous introduction of many disorders has caused some re-evaluation of the traditional guidelines for NBS, because very rare disorders or disorders without good treatments can be included with minimal effort. NBS tests for many other disorders have been developed, but these are less uniformly applied or are currently considered developmental. This review focuses on Australasian NBS practices.