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Definition of Heel stick

Heel stick: A simple procedure in which a newborn baby's heel is pricked and then a small amount of the blood is collected, usually with a narrow-gauge ("capillary") glass tube or a filter paper.

The heel stick is now the most common way to draw newborn's blood. It is used to do the newborn screening tests and usually done before the baby leaves the hospital. If the blood tests are performed earlier than 24 hours after the baby is born, a repeat test is recommended at 1 to 2 weeks of age. The most common newborn screening tests in the U.S. include hypothyroidism (underactivity of the thyroid gland) , PKU (phenylketonuria), galactosemia, and sickle cell disease.

Danish pediatrician Dr. Paul Drucker. invented in 1923 the heel stick test.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=14938
Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2012

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