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This scoping review aimed to synthesize the analytical techniques used and methodological limitations encountered when undertaking secondary research using residual neonatal dried blood spot (DBS) samples. Studies that used residual neonatal DBS samples for secondary research (i.e. research not related to newborn screening for inherited genetic and metabolic disorders) were identified from six electronic databases: Cochrane Library, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Embase, Medline, PubMed and Scopus. Inclusion was restricted to studies published from 1973 and written in or translated into English that reported the storage, extraction and testing of neonatal DBS samples. Sixty-seven studies were eligible for inclusion. Included studies were predominantly methodological in nature and measured various analytes, including nucleic acids, proteins, metabolites, environmental pollutants, markers of prenatal substance use and medications. Neonatal DBS samples were stored over a range of temperatures (ambient temperature, cold storage or frozen) and durations (two weeks to 40.5 years), both of which impacted the recovery of some analytes, particularly amino acids, antibodies and environmental pollutants. The size of DBS sample used and potential contamination were also cited as methodological limitations. Residual neonatal DBS samples retained by newborn screening programs are a promising resource for secondary research purposes, with many studies reporting the successful measurement of analytes even from neonatal DBS samples stored for long periods of time in suboptimal temperatures and conditions.

Original publication




Journal article


Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci

Publication Date



1 - 24


Dried blood spots, archived, neonatal, residual, scoping review