May 13, 2009

Group urges baby dried blood spots screens

A U.S. group of geneticists is stressing the importance of screening the residual dried blood spots of newborns.

The American College of Medical Genetics said a critical aspect of newborn screening is the dried blood spot, filter card which provides the specimen on which the screening is done. The left-over sample is useful in follow-up testing and other uses aimed at ensuring high quality newborn screening in the United States, the statement said.

In 2006, the ACMG recommended U.S. newborns be uniformly screened for 29 medical conditions. Their position statement affirms:

-- Residual newborn screening dried blood filter spots are a valuable national resource that can contribute significantly to the health of children.

-- Newborn screening blood spots are stored with rigorous control and respect for privacy and confidentiality to protect the public.

-- If a state decides that newborn screening blood spots should not be retained or used for anything more than the screening test, it is critical that individuals have the option of having their children's dried blood spots deposited in a national repository which will allow for necessary studies under appropriate privacy and confidentiality protections.