Santa Casa highlights the importance of foot testing for children’s health

To emphasize the importance of neonatal screening, National Foot Test Day is celebrated in Brazil this Monday – 6 June. Currently, testing is one of the most important tools for detecting serious diseases in newborns. The Hill Prix test is mandatory by law and completely free by the Unified Health System (SUS). It is essential for the early diagnosis and treatment of diseases that affect the development of children, such as sickle cell anemia, the most severe form of sickle cell disease, affecting more than 30,000 Brazilians.

Fundação Santa Casa de Misericórdia do Para, a reference to maternity and child care, this service is available to children who, due to complications in childbirth, are hospitalized in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU). In 2021, about 4,700 children benefited from the test at Santa Casa. In the first half of 2022 alone, 1,500 more tests have already been performed.Only one drop of blood taken between 3rd and 5th day of the baby for serious diagnosis, but it can be treated.

According to pediatric neonatologist Vilma Hutim, president of the Para Society of Pediatrics, the Hill Prick test is an advantage for families, as it allows every Brazilian, regardless of their financial status, to be tested for six diseases at birth, if they are initially detected and not treated. If so, the person will have a serious illness, which prevents him from leading a normal life and can even cause death. “Early diagnosis can make a difference in the lives of these children, avoiding a series of complications,” said the pediatrician.

Diana Lobato, technical director of the Santa Casa Foundation’s Reference Center for Special Immunobiology (CRI), explains that test success depends on the collection at the ideal time, from the 3rd to the 5th day after birth. Through the Life “Hill Prix Test, it is possible to promote specific treatments that reduce or eliminate irreversible injuries and even prevent death. Therefore, these diseases need to be tested even if there is no family history. Even in a healthy baby at birth, it can take months or years for the first symptoms to appear, “added Diana Lobato.

Testing is important for the healthy development of the babyHow is the heel prick test done? – The sample from a drop of blood taken from a newborn’s ankle is collected on a sheet of filter paper in the Maternity and Health Unit and sent to the Central State Laboratory (LASEN-PA) for analysis. Results are ready in 20 days.

The State Department of Public Health (CESPA) indicates that if there is any change in the results of the Hill Prick test, a second sample is requested from the municipality for proof. When this is normal, the results are released. But if the change persists, the person responsible for the child is notified, and the child is referred to the Euremia Neonatal Screening Reference Service for treatment.

In addition to the Maternal and Basic Health Unit, blood samples can be collected for Euremia (Maternal and Child Reference Unit).

Diseases identified by Hill Prick Test

Congenital hypothyroidism: The baby’s thyroid does not produce thyroid hormone (T4), or less than normal, which is essential for the baby’s development.

Phenylketonuria: It is caused by a congenital defect in metabolism, which is characterized by the accumulation of phenylalanine in the blood.

Sickle cell disease and other hemoglobinopathy: These are genetically inherited diseases where the size or quantity of hemoglobin (an essential component of the blood) changes, which transports oxygen to the tissues.

Cystic fibrosis: An inherited genetic disease in which secretions accumulate in the lungs, digestive tract and other parts of the body.

Deficiency of biotinides: An innate defect in metabolism that leads to failure of biotin enzyme production.

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia: Includes a set of genetic changes characterized by various enzymatic deficiencies in hormone production in the adrenal glands just above the kidneys.

Text: Rafaela Soeiro – Ascom / FSCMP


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