Newborn Metabolic Screening (NMS) Program

Information for Health Professionals

Alberta’s Newborn Metabolic Screening (NMS) Program is about health care providers working together with parents and guardians to screen for treatable conditions.

Who We Are

The NMS Program:

  • is a population based screening program* that provides newborn blood spot screening to all infants born in Alberta (infants born outside Alberta and receiving health care in Alberta may also be screened)
  • is delivered by Alberta Health Services (AHS) in partnership with Alberta Health, First Nations (FN) communities, physicians and midwives, and parents and guardians
  • works toward minimizing morbidity and mortality of Alberta infants through early diagnosis and treatment of screened conditions; ensures that all babies born in Alberta receive timely access to effective newborn blood spot screening and to have an initial screen reported on or before the 10th day of age; and informing parents, health professionals and the public about the NMS Program

* Population based screening programs offer a screening test(s) to all individuals in a defined population with agreed upon policies, protocols, quality management, monitoring and evaluation methods.

What We Do

The newborn blood spot screening pathway makes sure all screened infants who may have one of the treatable conditions get clinical assessment, diagnostic testing and early treatment if needed. It consists of the following steps:

  • Registration
  • Collection and transportation
  • Analysis and reporting
  • Follow-up

Timely screening helps find conditions that can be treated early when the treatment can help an infant the most. Without timely screening and intervention, infants with treatable conditions may suffer irreversible health problems and possibly death soon after birth.

Early detection and treatment of screened conditions can make the difference between healthy development and lifelong impairment.

Collection Resources

Support for blood spot collection staff (such as Public Health Nursing Services, FN communities, midwives and Alberta Precision Laboratories [APL]) across Alberta.

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Diagnostic Resources

Support for physicians and midwives to understand the treatable conditions screened for by the program.

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