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Kentucky Newborn Screening Program

family with baby

Kentucky Newborn Screening Program
275 E. Main St. HS2W-C
Frankfort, KY 40621
Phone: (502) 564-3756, ext. 4367
Toll Free: (800) 462-6122, ext. 2


For lab results, please contact the state lab at (502) 564-4446, ext. 4434

Fax: (502) 564-1510


Pulse Oximetry for Critical Congenital Heart Disease

On April 17, 2013, Gov. Steve Beshear signed Senate Bill 125 into law mandating screening of newborns for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD). Congenital heart diseases are the most common birth defects in the United States and the leading cause of infant death related to birth defects.

As part of Kentucky's routine newborn screening panel, pulse oximetry testing helps identify several critical defects, the most dangerous and potentially life-threatening to the newborn, that can be missed by prenatal ultrasound or physical examination.

Pulse oximetry testing is simple, low-cost and non-invasive. With the benefit of this testing being performed prior to hospital discharge, the survival rate for infants with CCHD improves to about 85 percent.

CCHD Collection form KY CHILD - pdf 155k

Pulse Ox for CCHD - pdf 2140k

Pulse Ox Screening Flowchart - pdf 72k

Flyer for Pulse Oximetry Testing for Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) in Newborns - pdf 405k

Flyer for Pulse Oximetry Testing for Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) in Newborns (SPANISH Version) - pdf 407k


Expanded Newborn Screening in Kentucky

Kentucky has expanded its newborn screening to include all 29 disorders the March of Dimes recommends for screening.

We currently screen for 49 disorders and this number grows as does the technology.

What is Newborn Screening?

Kentucky's Newborn Screening Program helps parents find out if a baby has certain health problems. A healthy-looking newborn can have any number of serious diseases that cannot be detected without specific screening. If left undetected and untreated, these diseases can lead to slow growth, blindness, brain damage or, possibly, death.

Early treatment can help prevent these serious problems.

Watch Save Babies One Foot at a Time video for more information on the heel stick for the newborn screening. Provided by Save Babies through Screening Foundation.

How can parents and guardians help?

First, make sure your infant has a blood specimen drawn before he or she leaves the hospital. Make sure your doctor has accurate contact information including names and addresses to ensure laboratory results can be communicated as quickly as possible.

Act quickly if your doctor contacts you about repeat tests or the need for a medical evaluation. If your infant was born at home, make sure your midwife, physician or health department conducts the screenings. If you have questions about newborn screening and your infant's health, contact your infant's physician, your local health department, your midwife or other health care provider or the Department for Public Health Newborn Screening Program.

Past News Articles

Improved Newborn Screening Program Saving Lives (PDF 98k)

2005 Kentucky Newborn Screening Program News

Newborn Screening Up Since 2005

HIPAA Privacy Rule and Public Health

When is Newborn Screening Done?

newborn baby foot being pricked for newborn screening test

Your newborn will be screened before leaving the hospital. The screening process involves a heel prick to collect a few drops of blood on special paper that is sent to the state laboratory for analysis. Screening is safe and can reveal serious health conditions in your newborn before symptoms or serious effects occur.

How will I get the results?

Your baby's doctor will receive a screening report and notify you of the results. You have the right and are encouraged to ask your doctor or nurse to explain the screening process and provide the results to you.

Watch the Save Babies One Foot at a Time video for more information on the heel stick for the newborn screening. Provided by Save Babies through Screening Foundation.

The Parent Information section below provides links to brochures and information on the diseases included in Kentucky's newborn screening.

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Newborn Screening Results

An abnormal test means your baby may have one of the health problems tested for in this screening. A negative test means that your baby probably does not have any of these problems. Because this test is a screening and not a diagnostic test, there is a small chance of a false negative or false positive result. Your baby's doctor may want to repeat the test or do other testing to further verify screening results.

If your child's newborn screen is positive, your doctor will talk with you about the next steps to take. You may be referred to a specialist for more testing and genetic counseling. If your baby is then diagnosed with a disease, treatment will begin to prevent or minimize health repercussions.

Rarely, the Newborn Screening Program does not receive notification of your baby's repeated results. This usually happens when a baby has a different primary care physician than the one who did the initial screening at the hospital. In this case, parents will receive a letter from the Newborn Screening Program letting them know their baby needs the repeat newborn screening test. The repeat screening test is performed at no charge by the baby's current primary care physician or local health department.

If you get a letter asking you to repeat your baby's newborn screening test, first, contact your baby's primary care physician. Explain to him or her that you have received notification to have the repeat newborn screening for your child and ask for a screening appointment as soon as possible. When you go for the repeat screening, be sure to take the letter from the Newborn Screening Program with you and give it to the physician. This way the physician will know what is needed and how to send the results to us.

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Special Considerations for Repeating the Newborn Screen

baby in neonatal unit

The newborn screen is most accurate when baby's blood is taken 24 hours or later after birth. If your baby's blood was taken sooner than 24 hours after birth, a second sample will be taken. 

However, if your baby was born prematurely or needed special care after birth such as blood transfusion or antibiotics, the timing of repeat testing may be different.

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Parent Information

Parent Brochures

These brochures can be printed out on legal paper for use by health care providers and parents.

Note: These documents are in Adobe Acrobat (.PDF) format.

If you do not have Adobe Acrobat or other .pdf viewer, you can download the free Adobe Acrobat here.

Kentucky Newborn Screening Brochure - (pdf-1037k)

Kentucky Newborn Screening Brochure - Spanish version - pdf 1043K

Parent Fact Sheets

These parent fact sheets can help answer questions parents may have regarding a disease they suspect or know their child has. Simply click on the disease name to open the parent fact sheet in a new window.

Note: These documents are in Adobe Acrobat (.PDF) format.

If you do not have Adobe Acrobat or other .pdf viewer, you can download the free Adobe Acrobat here.

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TRAIN Modules
Health Care Provider Fact Sheets

These health care provider fact sheets are designed to give information on each of the diseases we test for in our Newborn Screening Program. Click on a disease name to open the health care provider fact sheet in a new window.

Note: These documents are in Adobe Acrobat (.PDF) format.

If you do not have Adobe Acrobat or other .pdf viewer, you can download the free Adobe Acrobat here.

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Sickle Cell Trait

So you have received the results of your baby’s newborn screening and have been told your baby has sickle cell trait. What does this mean?

People with sickle cell trait do not have sickle cell disease. Sickle cell trait is inherited from parents - just like eye color and hair color. Your baby got one normal blood gene protein, hemoglobin A, from one parent and the sickle cell blood gene protein, hemoglobin S, from the other parent.

Sickle cell trait usually does not cause any problems, it cannot be spread to others like a cold can and it will not change to sickle cell disease later on in life. Usually, the trait will not even affect your baby’s health - but you should always let any health care providers for your child know he or she tested positive for sickle cell trait.

Your baby’s doctor may want another blood test to confirm the initial test results. Your doctor can provide information about sickle cell trait when your child grows up. Teens and adults may be tested mainly to see if they could pass the sickle cell trait to their own children. It is possible (a 1-in-4 chance) for someone with the trait and his or her partner who also has the trait, to have a baby with sickle cell disease.

Lots of people of color have sickle cell trait. It is common in people of African, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian origins. It is not only blacks who have sickle cell conditions.

Hemoglobin is a special protein found in the red blood cells of all people that gives blood its red color and carries oxygen throughout the body. More than 500 different types or variants of hemoglobin are known. Babies in Kentucky are tested right after birth for sickle cell disease. Red blood cells of people with the disease become hard and pointed instead of soft and round like normal red blood cells. Sickle cell disease can be very painful and causes other problems.

For more information, contact the Pediatric Hematology Clinics at the University of Louisville or University of Kentucky.

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Ky Metabolic Foods and Formulas

These are the forms needed to file a claim. For metabolic items for patients with PKU and other disorders requiring metabolic foods or formula.

To be filled out by the patient:

KY Metabolic Foods and Formula Provision Financial and Release of Information Form

To be filled out by the Metabolic Specialist:

Authorization for Services

Certificate of Medical Necessity for Metabolic Foods and Formula

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Last Updated 2/2/2017