This review attempts to provide practical information on common problems in the laboratory medicine of newborn infants and also considers unresolved problems in achieving neonatal diagnoses. A common cause of upset in the newborn--intrapartum asphyxia--can now be positively diagnosed. This leaves a small group whom it is necessary to investigate because they may have metabolic disease. The initial investigation of metabolic disease at the district general hospital should be limited to the commoner conditions.
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