Screening for G6PD deficiency is done for all newborns by testing the baby's umbilical cord blood.
Signs & Symptoms
Some newborns with
G6PD deficiency may develop jaundice more easily during the first week of
life. Decades ago in Singapore, before
screening of G6PD deficiency was done routinely, some affected newborns
developed high levels of jaundice which caused brain injury.
What causes it
G6PD deficiency is due to a lack of normal enzyme found in
the red blood cells. Due to the lack of this enzyme, the red blood cells can
break down more easily and cause jaundice (yellow appearance of skin) and
anaemia (lack of red blood cells)
G6PD deficiency is an inherited
and lifelong condition. It affects males more than females, and is more common
in Chinese about 5%.
Most people with G6PD
deficiency have a completely normal life as long as they avoid certain foods
and drugs and environmental chemicals.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
If your child is
diagnosed with G6PD deficiency, you will be counseled by our neonatal doctor
and given a written handout for more details about how this condition is
inherited and the precautions you will need to take for your baby.
Your baby will need to
remain in hospital for at least 72 hours after birth for monitoring and
possibly treatment of jaundice. After hospital discharge, take care of your
newborn as usual.
However, always check with your doctor or pharmacist before
taking any medication. Be careful about using herbal supplements or alternative
particular, the items below must be avoided life long. Mothers who are breastfeeding must also avoid the food and
drugs on this list.
- Co-trimoxazole (Septrin)
- Nalidixic acid
- Moth Balls (naphthalene)
- Methylene blue
- Fava beans - also called broad