How It Is Done
Tests for galactosemia are done on a blood or urine sample.
Blood sample from a heel stick
If galactosemia testing is done on a baby, a heel stick will be done instead of a blood draw from a vein. For a heel stick blood sample, several drops of blood are collected from the heel of the baby. The skin of the heel is cleaned with alcohol and then punctured with a sterile lancet. Several drops of blood are collected inside circles on a specially prepared piece of paper. When enough blood has been collected, a gauze pad or cotton ball is placed over the puncture site. Pressure is maintained on the puncture site briefly to stop the bleeding, and then a small bandage is usually applied. A blood sample is usually collected within 2 to 3 days after birth.
If the test shows that the baby has galactosemia, the results will be confirmed on a blood sample taken from a vein.
Blood sample from a vein
The health professional drawing your child's blood will:
- Wrap an elastic band around your child's upper arm to stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is easier to put a needle into the vein.
- Clean the needle site with alcohol.
- Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick may be needed.
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with blood.
- Remove the band from your child's arm when enough blood is collected.
- Apply a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as the needle is removed.
- Apply pressure to the site and then a bandage.
To test for galactose in a urine sample from a baby, a health professional will tape a plastic collection bag to the baby's genital area. After the baby urinates, the collection bag is removed. A blood test for galactose is more accurate than a urine test.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference March 29, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Siobhan M. Dolan, MD, MPH - Reproductive Genetics