A lab in Utah is analyzing sections of umbilical cords to look for evidence of mothers’ drug use, Medical Daily reports. Quickly identifying which infants have been exposed to drugs, and which drugs they were exposed to, can provide valuable information to neonatal specialists treating the babies, the lab says.
ARUP Laboratories, which is affiliated with the University of Utah, was the second lab in the nation to offer umbilical cord testing, the article notes. Before umbilical cord testing was developed, doctors would analyze babies’ exposure to drugs through their meconium (first stool). Testing the umbilical cord is faster, according to the article. Umbilical cord testing can take up to 72 hours.
“Sometimes babies are already in the throes of withdrawal symptoms but physicians can’t determine what drugs they are dealing with until test results are available,” Dr. Gwen McMillin, Medical Director of ARUP’s Clinical Toxicology Laboratories, said in a press release.