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Screening of selected risk factors in developmental dysplasia of the hip: an observational study
  1. Christopher L Talbot1,
  2. Robin W Paton1,2,3
  1. 1Orthopaedic Department, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Royal Blackburn Hospital, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Blackburn, UK
  2. 2University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK
  3. 3Department of Orthopaedics, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to C L Talbot, Orthopaedic Department, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Royal Blackburn Hospital, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Haslingden Road, Blackburn BB2 3HH, UK; christalbot{at}


Background Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is the most common neonatal musculoskeletal condition. In 2008, the NHS Newborn and Infant Physical Examination committee added selective ‘at risk’ screening to the existing universal neonatal and general practitioner clinical hip screening guidelines.

Objective Assessment of breech and family history risk factors in DDH.

Design A 15 year prospective, observational, longitudinal cohort study.

Method Breech presentation and evidence of a strong family history for DDH were the ‘risk factors’ studied. All infants referred were clinically and sonographically screened by one consultant paediatric orthopaedic surgeon.

Results From a cohort of 64 670 live births, 2984 neonates/infants, 46.1 (95% CI 44.6 to 47.8) per 1000 live births, were referred and sonographically screened with these risk factors alone. 1360 were male, of which four were identified as having ‘pathological’ DDH (an incidence of 0.003 (95% CI 0.001 to 0.008)). 1624 were female, of which 45 were identified as having ‘pathological’ DDH (an incidence of 0.028 (95% CI 0.021 to 0.037)). This difference in incidence of 0.025 (95% CI 0.016 to 0.033) was statistically significant (p<0.001). From those who were clinically stable and screened with either or both of the two risk factors, four individuals were diagnosed with irreducible hip dislocation (0.06 (95% CI 0.024 to 0.159) per 1000 live births). All were females.

Conclusions This study questions the current UK screening policy for DDH in clinically stable males referred with risk factors, and may influence future DDH screening programme policy.

  • Screening
  • Orthopaedics

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