Torch Screen

Definition

  • The torch screen test is a blood test that is done to check several infections in a newborn baby.
  • The word Torch stands for toxoplasmosis, rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex and HIV.
  • Sometimes this test is also spelled TORCHS; in this the additional S stands for syphilis.

How this Test is Done?

  • An experienced practitioner cleans an area of the finger generally and then makes a little cut with lancet or takes blood with a sharp needle.
  • Then the blood is collected in the tube which is made up of glass, or a slide, or may be a test strip.
  • In order to avoid bleeding, bandage is applied on the place from where the blood is taken out.

Preparation for theTest?

  • If you are going for the test of your new born, try to keep him calm.
  • Be with him. Your presence will certainly help your child.
  • During the test, make him sit without any movement because while pricking the needle if your child moves he can get hurt and the needle can harm the tissues.

How the Torch Screen test will Feel?

  • This test is not very painful.
  • When the needle is inserted or slight cut has been made, your child will feel as though something has pricked or a slight stinging sensation.

What is the Need of Test?

  • Torch screen test is generally performed to screen out some infections in the new born that are transferred from the mother to her baby.
  • Toxoplasmosis, rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex, syphilis, and HIV are the infections that can lead to many health problems like growth delay, birth defects, and neurological problems.
  • Sometimes tests of mothers are also done to diagnose some special infections.

Normal Values

  • Normal values of this test differ in different labs.
  • Generally, the normal result is taken out according to the normal level of immunoglobulin M that is an antibody in the child’s blood.
  • The abnormal level of IGM makes the difference.

What if the Result is Abnormal?

  • If the result is abnormal then further tests are needed to find out the actual problem so that correct treatment can be started. If the levels of immunoglobulin found are high against a particular substance in your baby, then it means that he has some infection that needs to be treated.
  • And your child needs further test to confirm the problem.

What are the Risks?

  • There is no such serious risk.
  • Your child can have excess bleeding, bruising and infection in the punctured site but these problems are easily managed by the experienced practitioners.

Special Considerations

  • It is a useful test as it helps in screening many infections and also helps in narrowing down the possibilities of certain congenital infections.
  • Sometimes the result, if positive means that your infection has been transferred to your child and now he is carrying that infection.
  • In this case, your child needs some further tests to diagnose the actual problem so that he may get the right treatment.
  • Mothers are also needed to do some tests to help their child in diagnosing the problem.