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J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 1996 Feb;18(1):36-41.

Newborn screening for sickle cell disease: 4 years of experience from California's newborn screening program.

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  • 1Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.



In this article we describe the success of a unique newborn screening program for sickle cell disease and other hemoglobinopathies. We will present and discuss 4 years of experience from the California Newborn Hemoglobinopathy Screening Program.


Several aspects that ensure the success of the program will be reviewed. These aspects include (a) the use of high-pressure liquid chromatography as the initial screening technique, (b) a confirmatory testing laboratory that incorporates DNA technology and innovative protein analysis using electrospray mass spectrometry, and (c) a complex follow-up strategy that employs regional nurses to track positive results and ensure timely enrollment of infants into treatment systems.


Of these 2 million infants screened, 492 were diagnosed with some form of sickle cell disease; 290 (58.9%) were diagnosed with hemoglobin SS, 143 (29.0%) were diagnosed with hemoglobin SC, and 47 (9.5%) were diagnosed with S beta+thalassemia.


The prevalence and ethnicity data presented here demonstrate the ineffectiveness of targeted screening and justify universal screening. Had targeted screening been performed in California during the past 4 years, 58 nonblack infants with sickle cell disease would have gone undiagnosed, and 6,921 nonblack infants with sickle cell trait would not have been identified.

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