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Screening Results

You may be looking for a baby’s newborn screening results or trying to make sense of them. 

Screening results show if a baby is at higher or lower risk for the diseases, but cannot confirm or rule out a disease. In other words, newborn screening is not diagnostic. 

There are three possible results from the newborn screening test:

Screen negative result

  • Most babies have screen negative newborn screening results.   
  • Screen negative results mean that a baby has a low risk of having any of the diseases screened. Follow-up testing is not needed based on these results.
  • False negative results are possible but rare. A baby’s health care provider may still order diagnostic testing for one of the diseases if a baby has a family history or develops symptoms.


Unsatisfactory result

  • An unsatisfactory result means that a baby’s newborn screening sample was not suitable for testing and a repeat sample is needed as soon as possible.  
  • An unsatisfactory test result does NOT mean that baby has a higher chance of having a disease.  
  • Our Repeat Tests page discusses reasons why samples are considered unsatisfactory.


Screen positive result

  • Some babies have a screen positive newborn screening result.
  • A screen positive result does NOT mean that a baby has the disease. It means that the baby has a higher chance of having the disease and that more testing is needed to find out for sure.  
  • Our Disease Information page provides more information about screen positive results for specific diseases. 


Requesting results 

Newborn screening is performed shortly after birth. Results of the dried blood spot test are usually available within a few days. Newborn Screening Ontario (NSO) routinely sends results to the hospital or health care provider who ordered the test. NSO will also send results to a baby's health care provider upon request. Parents/guardians or the baby’s health care provider can request screening results

Results for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) screening are available immediately after the pulse oximetry test. You can request your baby’s CCHD screening results from the hospital, birth centre, or midwifery practice where the test was performed. 

Sickle cell carrier results  

Parents/guardians or the baby’s health care provider can request carrier results for sickle cell and some less common hemoglobin diseases. 

Carrier results are not included on the newborn screening results report. Thus, requesting them is optional. Obtaining carrier results is NOT urgent. Children who are carriers of a hemoglobin disease are not more likely to get sick than any other child.

Contact Us

Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario
415 Smyth Road
Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8M8

Toll-Free: 1-877-627-8330
Local: (613) 738-3222
Fax: (613) 738-0853

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