Knowledge of Puerperal Mothers about the Guthrie Test

Researchers from Universidade Federal do Triângulo Mineiro (UFTM), in Uberaba (MG, Southeast Brazil) published a study in Revista Paulista de Pediatria in July 2017, which evaluated puerperal mothers’ knowledge of the Guthrie test.

The authors indicated that the Guthrie test, included in the Neonatal Screening Program , aims at detecting asymptomatic infectious and genetic diseases at birth, mainly inborn errors of metabolism, facilitating early diagnosis and treatment of these diseases, in order to avoid sequelae for the child. The State of Minas Gerais is in phase IV of the Neonatal Screening Program that includes the identification of six diseases: phenylketonuria, congenital hypothyroidism, hemoglobinopathies, cystic fibrosis, congenital adrenal hyperplasia and biotinidase deficiency. In Guthrie test, some drops of blood from the heel of the newborn are collected. The ideal period for collection is between the third and the seventh day of life of the newborn. The Guthrie test is an action of preventive pediatrics and the main initiative of the Brazilian Unified Health System (UHS) in the field of ??genetics. In this context, the study of the Universidade Federal do Triângulo Mineiro (UFTM) aimed at evaluating what mothers know about the Guthrie test, since only a correct and timely understanding make them take their children to the test collection during the appropriate period, avoiding subsequent sequelae, especially intellectual disability.

A descriptive and cross-sectional study with a quantitative approach was carried out with 75 mothers older than 18 years, with children up to 40 days of age. For the collection of data, a questionnaire was prepared by the researchers, with closed questions – some dichotomous (yes or no) and others of multiple choice – applied and filled by the same person.

The study demonstrated that mother’s knowledge of the Guthrie test is superficial and may be a consequence of the fragility of health team performance. “The most relevant fact is that some mothers, after responding to the questionnaire, questioned the researcher on the subject, showing that they did not have enough knowledge of the topic, but found it extremely important,” says Professor Dr. Alessandra Trovó de Marqui, one of the authors of the research.

According to Marqui, the study deserves to be disclosed to the society, as it intended to contribute positively to the health of the newborn by means of mother’s awareness of the importance, the purpose, the diseases screened, and the time to perform the Guthrie test. “Through this research, initiatives that contribute to increasing the knowledge of mothers about the health of their child can be developed,” said the Professor. The results of the study can stimulate the design of educational materials and/or new studies that contribute to enhance the maternal knowledge of the subject. “It also enables greater dissemination of information for the implementation of public policies aimed at promoting child health,” concluded Dr. Alessandra Trovó de Marqui.


Corresponding author: Alessandra Trovó de Marqui

Universidade Federal do Triângulo Mineiro, Uberaba (MG)


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