Sickle cell disease (SCD) encompasses a group of inherited red cell disorders characterized by an abnormal hemoglobin, Hb S. The most common forms of SCD in the United States and Canada are identified through universal newborn screening (NBS) programs. Now carried out in all fifty U.S. states and 8 Canadian provinces, NBS for SCD represents one of the major public health advances in North America. The current status of NBS programs for hemoglobinopathies and the screening techniques employed in many regions worldwide reflect in large part the U.S. and Canadian experiences. Although the structure, screening algorithms and laboratory procedures, as well as reporting and follow up, vary between NBS programs, the overall workflow is similar. The current review summarized the historical background, current approaches, and methods used to screen newborns for SCD in the United States and Canada.
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