How Newborn Screening Saves 3-Month Old Payton’s Life?

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In Michigan, a 2-minute newborn screening test helped in the diagnosis of a serious medical condition that potentially saved a baby’s life. The 3 month old healthy baby, Payton was diagnosed with a congenital heart disease on the second day of her birth through newborn screening test. The mandatory newborn screening in Michigan State helped in the early diagnosis, treatment and speedy recovery of the child.

At birth, Payton seemed to be healthy which made it impossible for the doctors and her parents to detect a serious heart condition. However, the baby’s parents – Holly and Rob Morris were later notified about Payton’s medical condition when the newborn screening test results came. Payton suffered from abnormally low oxygen level causing a heart defect, in spite of a healthy pregnancy and regular prenatal care. Immediately, the Hillsdale pediatrician Hugh Brainard and team transferred Payton to CS Mott Children’s hospital to officially confirm the presence of total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR). In this condition, the oxygen rich blood from the lungs does not reach the left atrium like it is supposed to. Such critical medical conditions can be detected only after birth using newborn screening tests.

As a part of mandatory newborn screening, Payton was screened using Pulse Oximetry, a sensor device placed on the baby’s foot or fingertip to determine the O2 saturation. Payton’s condition was a common type of congenital heart disease observed in kids, which requires surgery or other procedure within one year of age. When Payton was 8 weeks old, the doctors performed TAPVR repair surgery and now she is recovering at home.

The success of newborn screening in early detection and treatment of various genetic, metabolic and heart conditions have created a buzz across the world and the concept is widely accepted in many countries. These simple newborn screening tests detect and help in the better treatment of diseases which are not easily diagnosed, otherwise. Nick Lyon, Michigan Department of Community Health Director said, “A simple screening test at birth provides immeasurable benefits for the families whose children have a disorder detected by the screening program, improving health outcomes “.


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