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Newborn Screen Test Collection

Collection Procedure:

PolicyTech: Version 8

The Newborn Screen (NBS) is a test performed on the blood of newborn babies to detect congenital and metabolic disorders. It may be performed on older children.

Newborn Screen card preparation:

1. Information requested on the Newborn Screen card must be completed by the

nursing unit, or the Out Patient Laboratory registrars. Refer to ACH Newborn

Screen Specimen Criteria and Tracking Procedure for instructions.

2. Do not touch the area within the circles on the filter paper.


Specimen requirement:

1. Collect the specimen by capillary technique - heel for infants, finger for children.


Blood collection:

1. Chlorascrub must be dried from the heel or finger prior to puncture. Use powderfree

gloves. Chlorascrub residue and powder may adversely affect the test


2. Obtain a large drop of blood. Touch the drop of blood directly from the heel or

finger to the preprinted circle on the filter paper.

  • The use of capillary or microtainer tubes to fill the circles is not allowed.

  • Plastic collecting caps from microtainers may be used to collect
        blood and to then dispense blood onto the circles. Several fresh

        caps must be used during collection to avoid clotting.

  • Touch the blood, not the cap, to the filter paper. Caps and tubes
         scratch the paper.


Filling the circles on the filter paper:

1. Allow the blood to completely saturate the area within each circle. Examine both

sides to ensure the blood has saturated through the filter paper.

2. Use one large drop to fill the circle. Use successive drops of blood to fill one

circle only if needed.

3. Apply blood to only one side of the filter paper.

4. Fill all five circles. Fill one circle completely before starting the next.

5. Avoid blood saturation outside the circles, which causes wrinkling.


Labeling, receiving, and drying:

1. Attach an order label or EPIC Label onto the top rectangle box of the NBS card

and write on the time of collection, the collectors employee number, and C


2. For NBSs collected on nursing units by inpatient lab staff - Transport

immediately to CCL, lying flat on the collection tray. Receive in the lab

information system and allow to air dry for at least 3 hours in a horizontal position

in the NBS dry rack.

3. For NBSs collected in Out Patient Laboratories or by nursing staff in NICU -

Place in the dry rack or in a horizontal position for at least 3 hours prior to

sending to CCL for receiving into the lab information system.

4. Separate filter paper from back of card to prevent clotting while drying.

5. The specimen should be dried away from heat, breezes, and direct sun light.

6. Do not place Newborn Screen specimens in a plastic bag at any time. Screens

can be sent through the pneumatic tube system contained in a paper envelope

labeled with a bio-hazard sticker. At no time should the card be sent through the

pneumatic tube system without some type of secondary container stating that it

is a bio-hazard specimen.