Foot test: Neonatal screening, better known as the “foot test”, is an effective way to detect, early on, metabolic, genetic and infectious diseases that can cause irreparable sequelae in the child’s mental and physical development, if not treated before birth. appearance of symptoms. It is necessary, mainly, because many of the carriers of these diseases are born with normal appearance and, when they manifest, the condition is irreversible.
The test is mandatory by law in our country, being offered free of charge in public health units since 1992.
This exam is usually performed when the newborn is two days old, since before this period the results can be influenced by the mother’s metabolism. The ideal is that it does not exceed the period of one week.
It consists of withdrawing a few drops of blood through a small and single hole in the baby’s heel, on a sheet of filter paper. This region of the body is very rich in blood vessels, making it almost painless.
The sample will provide conditions for screening for diseases such as phenylketonuria, congenital hypothyroidism, sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis. In the presence of any of these, specific treatments are carried out to circumvent the problem and improve the baby’s health conditions.
The use of hormones, in the case of hyperoidism; or for phenylcentonuria, the adoption of a differentiated diet, avoiding foods rich in protein and those with phenylalanine, are examples of therapeutic measures.
There is currently a foot test capable of detecting more than 30 diseases, however, it is only available in the private health network.