Your baby 0-1 year

Guthrie's test: how's it going?

Guthrie's test: how's it going?


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From birth, your toddler will pass his first exams ... medical! A few drops of blood taken from his heel or his hand will ensure his health. Discover behind the scenes of neonatal screening or Guthrie testing.

72 hours after birth, a small cut in the heel

  • "In general, before taking the Guthrie test, the baby is given a soapy pad soaked in sugar so that he or she does not feel the pain, so that a few drops of blood can be gently removed from the heel or back. the hand and spread them on a blotting paper provided for this purpose, "describes Dr. Roselyne Garnotel of the laboratory of biology and pediatric research of the University Hospital of Reims. The criterion of a "successful" cardboard? The drops of blood have crossed and are visible on the back. This is the assurance of having a certain level of hemoglobin per square centimeter: the tests will be possible and reliable.
  • Why does the collection of blood take place precisely on the third or fourth day of life? This is not done earlier because, to detect one of the pathologies, it is necessary that the baby has already been fed a few days. It is not later either because, for another disease, it is necessary to be able to begin the treatment before the 12th day of life.
  • The day before, the health care team will have informed you of this gesture, by giving you a small leaflet published by the French Association for Screening and Prevention of Childhood Disabilities (AFDPHE). This structure is responsible for organizing neonatal screening at the national level. This one is financed by the Health insurance and returns to a few euros per child. Its extremely rigorous organization allows 100% of babies to benefit from these tests!

A little signature

  • On the cardboard, are carefully noted the name of the maternity, that of your child, its date and time of birth, your name and your contact information, the name of your doctor. All the tests carried out are biological examinations - research or dosage in the blood of certain substances - which do not require any particular authorization on the part of the parents. "But depending on the results, it is sometimes necessary to go further and do some genetic research to detect cystic fibrosis, for example, but in this case, the law of bioethics makes the written consent of the parents obligatory. that the parents will sign on the back of the cardboard ", explains Jacques Sarles, professor of pediatrics in Marseille.

5 diseases in the line of sight

  • Once dry, cartons are mailed to the regional neonatal screening laboratory. The very day of their reception, they are treated. All the data concerning each box are recorded by computer, as well as the date of collection and the date of arrival at the laboratory. Thus, the traceability is impeccable.

The analyzes can begin! They will focus on the detection of five diseases, which are of genetic origin for the most part:

  • Phenylketonuria
  • Congenital hypothyroidism
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Cystic fibrosis

More details on these screened diseases

D + 15: the results

  • No news is good news ! If the tests did not reveal anything abnormal - 99.9% of the cases - you will not hear about them anymore. If a result is doubtful or positive, you will be contacted by the Regional Neonatal Screening Association within approximately two weeks, using the information on the blood collection card. "We propose an appointment to the parents the next day in a specialized center according to the disease of their baby, explains Dr. Garnotel.There, the diagnosis will be confirmed and a care immediately started." "The organization of the Neonatal screening in our country goes hand in hand with the establishment of highly structured care pathways for these diseases, especially cystic fibrosis, "says Pr Sarles.
  • As for cartons, they are kept for a year, then they are destroyed by burning them. No question at the moment to put in card the genetic capital of all the children born each year, thus in term of all the population.

Isabelle Gravillon, with the collaboration of Dr. Roselyne Garnotel of the laboratory of biology and pediatric research of the University Hospital of Reims, and Pr Jacques Sarles, professor of pediatrics in Marseilles and vice-president of the AFDPHE (French Association for the detection and the prevention of the handicaps of the child).