Why shouldn’t we refer to newborn screening as the “PKU test?”
The term “PKU test” is outdated and misleading since phenylketonuria (PKU) is only one of many conditions on the newborn screening panel. PKU was the first condition screened for by newborn screening in the 1960s. Using this misnomer can cause confusion among parents and providers who have been notified of an abnormal test result. The initial reaction from parents could be to look up PKU online and jump to conclusions. Providers hearing this term won’t know the abnormal test result could be related to another condition on the screening panel. More accurate terms are newborn screen, heel stick, or blood spot test.