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The implementation of revised guidelines and the performance of a screening programme for Congenital Hypothyroidism

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Timothy Cheetham


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Objectives To see whether revised screening standards and health-professional training are associated with changes in the performance of a neonatal screening programme for congenital hypothyroidism (CHT). Methods Screening data from the regional screening service in Durham and Newcastle, which covers north-east England and North Cumbria. Setting We assessed the timing of the different stages of the screening process leading up to the introduction of the revised guidelines between April 2004 and March 2005 (year 1) and afterwards between April 2005 and March 2006 (year 2) in all babies notified as having CHT. We also assessed the interval between sampling and specimen arrival in the laboratory at the beginning and end of year 2 in all babies screened. Results Twenty-three babies tested positive or borderline in year 1 and 18 babies in year 2. There was reduced variability in the overall time from birth to notification in year 2 versus year 1 (P = 0.001). This reduction was a consequence of a reduced interval between sample collection and arrival in the laboratory (P = 0.047) and for the laboratory to notify the positive test result (P = 0.003). There was a reduction in the mean time from sampling to receipt by the laboratory in the 2997 babies screened in the final month compared with the 2498 babies screened in the first month of year 2 (P = 0.01). Conclusion There was an improvement in neonatal screening programme performance around the time that revised neonatal screening guidelines were introduced. This highlights the importance of ongoing education and training for those involved in screening programmes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Korada M, Kibirige M, Turner S, Day J, Johnstone H, Cheetham T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Medical Screening

Year: 2008

Volume: 15

Issue: 1

Pages: 5-8

ISSN (print): 0969-1413

ISSN (electronic): 1475-5793

Publisher: Royal Society of Medicine Press Ltd.


DOI: 10.1258/jms.2008.007080


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