Small Hospital Procedures
“Neonatal screening” is performed on all newborns in the United States. This test investigates the presence of 31 diseases in total.
Approximately 1% of children are born with congenital heart defects. 0.2% of these cases are critical, associated with a high risk of life and require immediate medical intervention. All newborns undergo a simple test on the second day of life, in which oxygenation of the upper and lower extremities is measured and compared.
The “eye test” is performed on all babies as a standard part of the physical examination of the newborn. This test looks for abnormalities inside the baby’s eye.
Of every one thousand newborns, 1 to 6 suffer from hearing loss. If hearing impairment is detected and treated promptly, the possible associated problems can be prevented or minimized. For this reason, it is recommended that all newborns have their hearing test done within the first month of life.
Newborns have a transient physiological increase in bilirubin after birth. Sometimes this increase is exaggerated and may be associated with some pathology. The determination of bilirubin levels is routinely done to all children around 48 hours of life before leaving the hospital.
Sometimes, newborns are born with low levels of vitamin K. This predisposes to bleeding, which can be avoided by intramuscular administration of vitamin K after birth.
The first and only vaccine administered to the newborn is hepatitis B. The first series of vaccines that include the second dose of hepatitis B are given after 6 weeks.
Erythromycin is applied to the baby’s eyes immediately after birth for the prevention of neonatal conjunctivitis, an infection that can cause loss of vision.