Article Text

Performance, treatment pathways, and effects of alternative policy options for screening for developmental dysplasia of the hip in the United Kingdom
  1. C Dezateux1,
  2. J Brown2,
  3. R Arthur3,
  4. J Karnon4,
  5. A Parnaby4
  1. 1Centre for Paediatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Child Health, London WC1N 1EH, UK
  2. 2MRC Health Services Research Collaboration, Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 2PR, UK
  3. 3General Infirmary at Leeds, Belmont Grove, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS2 9NS, UK
  4. 4Health Economics Research Group, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor C Dezateux, Centre for Paediatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH, UK;


Aims: To compare, using a decision model, performance, treatment pathways and effects of different newborn screening strategies for developmental hip dysplasia with no screening.

Methods: Detection rate, radiological absence of subluxation at skeletal maturity and avascular necrosis of the femoral head, as favourable and unfavourable treatment outcomes respectively, were compared for the following strategies: clinical screening alone using the Ortolani and Barlow tests; the addition of static and dynamic ultrasound examination of the hips of all infants (universal ultrasound) or restricted to infants with defined risk factors (selective ultrasound); “no screening” (that is, clinical diagnosis only).

Results: Universal or selective ultrasound detects more more affected children (76% and 60% respectively) than clinical screening alone (35%), results in a higher proportion of affected children with favourable treatment outcomes (92% and 88% respectively) than clinical screening alone (78%) or no screening (75%), and the highest proportion of these achieved without recourse to surgery (64% and 79% respectively) compared with clinical screening alone (18%). However, ultrasound based strategies are also associated with the highest number of unfavourable treatment outcomes arising in unaffected children treated following a false positive screening result. The detection rate of clinical screening alone becomes similar to that reported for universal ultrasound when based on studies using experienced examiners (80%) rather than junior medical staff (35%).

Conclusion: From the largely observational data available, ultrasound based screening strategies appear to be most sensitive and effective but are associated with the greatest risk of potential adverse iatrogenic effects arising in unaffected children.

  • hip dislocation
  • congenital
  • mass screening
  • decision trees
  • outcome and process assessment
  • health care
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    Probabilities used in the model
    Table A Screening and treatment probabilities by screening strategy
    Table B Favourable and unfavourable treatment outcomes

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