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Adenosine Deaminase Deficiency Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID) - heel prick screening

Adenosine Deaminase Deficiency Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID) is an inherited disease. It is very rare but it can be very serious.

It is caused by a lack of Adenosine Deaminase (ADA). This is a chemical that helps to break down toxins in our body’s cells.

Our immune system protects us from infections. Babies born with ADA-SCID have a weak immune system, so they cannot fight off infections. This means that common infections could be life-threatening.

Babies born in Ireland with ADA-SCID

Around 1 in every 78,000 babies born in Ireland has ADA-SCID.

Babies with ADA-SCID inherit 1 altered gene from each parent.

How heel prick screening can help

If the heel prick suggests that your baby may have ADA-SCID, they will need to come back into the maternity hospital or unit.

The hospital team will take a small blood sample (about 2mls or half a teaspoon). This will be analysed to confirm if your baby has ADA-SCID or not.

If the test confirms that they have ADA-SCID, your baby will be looked after by doctors in CHI Crumlin. They will decide on the treatment plan.

Detecting ADA-SCID early means treatment can begin earlier and can result in better outcomes.

page last reviewed: 19/05/2022
next review due: 19/05/2025