Screening for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency in neonates: a comparison between cord and peripheral blood samples

The use of cord blood in the neonatal screening for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is being done with increasing frequency but has yet to be adequately evaluated against the use of peripheral blood sample which is usually employed for confirmation. The authors sought to determine the incidence and gender distribution of G6PD deficiency, and compare the results of cord against peripheral blood in identifying G6PD

Among the 8139 neonates with cord blood G6PD assays, an overall incidence of 2% for G6PD deficiency was computed. 79% of these were males and 21% were females with significantly more deficient males (p < .001). Gender-specific incidence was 3.06% for males and 0.85% for females. A subgroup analysis comparing cord and peripheral blood samples (n = 1253) showed a significantly higher mean G6PD value for peripheral than cord blood (15.12 ± 4.52 U/g and 14.52 ± 4.43 U/g, respectively, p = 0.0008). However, the proportion of G6PD deficient neonates did not significantly differ in the two groups (p = 0.79). Sensitivity of cord blood in screening for G6PD deficiency, using peripheral G6PD assay as a gold standard was 98.6% with a NPV of 99.5%.

There was no difference between cord and peripheral blood samples in discriminating between G6PD deficient and non-deficient neonates. A significantly higher mean peripheral G6PD assay reinforces the use of cord blood for neonatal screening since it has substantially low false negative results.

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