Objective: To conduct interviews with a multiyear sample of parents of infants found to have heterozygous status for sickle cell hemoglobinopathy or cystic fibrosis during newborn blood screening (NBS). Study design: Interviewers with clinical backgrounds telephoned parents, and followed a structured script that blended follow-up and research purposes. Recruiting followed several steps to minimize recruiting bias as much as possible for a NBS study. Results: Follow-up calls were conducted with parents of 426 infant carriers of sickle cell hemoglobinopathy, and 288 parents of cystic fibrosis carriers (34.8% and 49.6% of those eligible). Among these, 27.5% and 7.8% had no recollection of being informed of NBS results. Of those who recalled a provider explanation, 8.6% and 13.0% appraised the explanation negatively. Overall, 7.4% and 13.2% were dissatisfied with the experience of learning about the NSB result. Mean anxiety levels were low but higher in the sickle cell hemoglobinopathy group (P < .001). Misconceptions that the infant might get the disease were present in 27.5% and 7.8% of parents (despite zero actual risk for disease). Several of these data were significantly predicted by NBS result, health literacy, parental age, and race/ethnicity factors. Conclusions: Patient-centered public health follow-up can be effective after NBS identifies carrier status. Psychosocial complications were uncommon, but harms were substantial enough to justify mitigation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Supported by the National Institutes of Health ( R01 HL086691 and HL086691-02S1 ). The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.
- cystic fibrosis
- genetic screening
- incidental findings
- newborn screening
- sickle cell hemoglobinopathy