Should we screen newborns for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency in the United States?

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Abstract

Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, a common X-linked enzymopathy can lead to severe hyperbilirubinemia, acute bilirubin encephalopathy and kernicterus in the United States. Neonatal testing for G6PD deficiency is not yet routine and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends testing only in jaundiced newborns who are receiving phototherapy whose family history, ethnicity, or geographic origin suggest risk for the condition, or for infants whose response to phototherapy is poor. Screening tests for G6PD deficiency are available, are suitable for use in newborns and have been used in birth hospitals. However, US birth hospitals experience is limited and no national consensus has emerged regarding the need for newborn G6PD testing, its effectiveness or the best approach. Our review of current state of G6PD deficiency screening highlights research gaps and informs specific operational challenges to implement universal newborn G6PD testing concurrent to bilirubin screening in the United States.

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