What is PKU Test?March 9, 2011 # 11:35 pm # Everything About PKU Test, PKU Glossary # No Comment
PKU (phenylketonuria) test is a newborn screening test designed to measure a level of phenylalanine (Phe) – an amino acid that is needed for normal growth and development – in baby’s body. Lack of enzyme that changes phenylalanine into another amino acid – called tyrosine – can increase the levels of phenylalanine in the blood and subsequently can cause serious brain damage or intellectual disability.
How it’s done
The procedure is pretty straightforward – the blood is collected from baby’s heal, usually within 48 hours after birth, and then is sent to a laboratory.
Types of PKU tests
Basically, there are three main PKU screening methods:
2. Fluorescence spectroscopy – screening method in which a fluorometer analyzes fluorescence from a blood sample.
3. Tandem mass spectrometry – the most reliable PKU screening method which measure the weight of molecules in blood. The results are presented in a graph (mass spectrum).
If the phenylalanine content in blood does not exceed 1-2 mg/dL, this is a clear sign that a child doesn’t have PKU. On the other hand, if this content is higher, the child will have to be on a low protein diet for the rest of his/hers life. If a newborn child is diagnosed with PKU, it is very important that he/she starts with the diet program as soon as possible.
Did you know?
Did you know that all the newborns since 1970s’ have had at least one (PKU) test done in their life? Most of the developed countries started to organize neonatal screenings from 1966. By the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, neonatal screenings became medical standard in hospitals across the USA.