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Investigation of global developmental delay
  1. L McDonald1,
  2. A Rennie1,
  3. J Tolmie2,
  4. P Galloway3,
  5. R McWilliam4
  1. 1Department of Community Child Health, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Yorkhill, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2Duncan Guthrie Institute of Medical Genetics, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Yorkhill, Glasgow, UK
  3. 3Department of Biochemistry, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Yorkhill, Glasgow, UK
  4. 4Fraser of Allander Neurosciences Unit, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Yorkhill, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr L McDonald
    Achamore Centre, Drumchapel Health Centre, 80–90 Kinfauns Drive, Glasgow G15 7TS, UK; lmcdonald{at}


The investigation of global developmental delay in preschool children varies between centres and between paediatricians.1 Following a literature search and review of the evidence base, guidelines were developed to assist in the assessment and management of such children presenting to secondary level services. Evidence supporting the use of genetic and biochemical investigations on a screening basis was found, but there was no evidence to support the use of metabolic investigations or neuroimaging in the absence of other positive findings on history or examination. Detailed history and examination are paramount in the assessment of children with global developmental delay. Investigations can be a useful adjunct in determining aetiology. Evidence based guidelines have been developed to assist doctors in the selection of appropriate investigations for this group of children.

  • developmental delay
  • guidelines
  • investigation

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  • Competing interests: none declared