Newborn Metabolic Screening
The State of Texas requires that all newborns be screened for 29 metabolic disorders that can be easily treated if found early in an infant's development. This initial screen called the Newborn Screen (formerly known as PKU) is performed on all infants prior to the day of discharge and again at 10 to 14 days of age. Results are sent by the state to your physician's office. You will be billed by the hospital for this screen.
Jaundice, also known as Hyperbilirubinemia, is common in newborns and usually occurs within the first week of life. Jaundice is the yellow appearance of a baby's skin and the whites of the eyes. Most often, jaundice will go away on its own, but some newborns will need to be treated. On very rare occasions jaundice can lead to a disease known as kernicterus. Kernicterus can cause liver damage, brain damage and even death if not treated. Because of this, all babies born at Texas Health HEB are checked for jaundice at 24 hours of age and within six hours prior to discharge with a transcutaneous jaundice monitor — a non-invasive test on the chest or forehead to obtain a reading of the jaundice level. Depending on the results, your baby may need further screening and/or phototherapy to decrease the jaundice level. There is a nominal fee for this non-invasive test which will be added to your hospital bill.
Infant Hearing Screening
The Texas Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (TEHDI) Program is the State's universal newborn hearing screening, tracking and intervention program. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends all newborns be screened. At Texas Health HEB, a hearing screening is performed on newborns by Pediatrix, Inc. At some point, your baby's hearing will be evaluated using a painless, non-invasive procedure. The test measures the functioning of the inner ear and auditory (hearing) nerve. The procedure takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes, and you will receive the results soon after the test. You will be asked to sign a consent form prior to the hearing screen. You will be sent a bill from Pediatrix, Inc., for the hearing screen. Some insurance carriers cover hearing screens. Please check with your insurance carrier prior to coming to the hospital.
Critical Congenital Heart Defect Screening
Congenital heart disease (CHD) is a problem in the structure of the heart or the blood flow through the heart. CHD is the most common birth defect and the cause is not really known. It is measured through a pulse oximetry test after the baby is 24 hours old. A low pulse oximetry reading can be normal in newborns whose lungs and heart are adjusting after birth. If your child has a problem with his heart or lungs, your doctor or nurse will tell you what a normal pulse ox range is for your child. It is possible that your baby’s doctor will order additional tests. If you have questions about pulse ox or CHD, you should ask the doctor or nurse practitioner that is providing your prenatal care or the doctor or nurse caring for your baby after he or she is born. If you do not want your baby screened for serious heart problems you should tell your doctor or nurse.