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Infants Should Be Screened for Hip Trouble
Date:7/1/2009

Study finds screening infants helps decrease chance of early arthritis

ROSEMONT, Ill., July 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Developmental hip dysplasia is the most common congenital defect in newborns. The condition occurs when a hip joint is shallow, unstable or when the joint is dislocated. Infants with the condition are often at risk of developing arthritis of the hip as a young adult. A new study published in the July 2009 issue of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS) finds that screening all infants for hip dysplasia can significantly decrease their chance of developing early arthritis.

"This study systematically evaluated what we know about hip dysplasia to determine the best screening strategy for newborns," said study author Susan Mahan, M.D., Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon with Children's Hospital in Boston and instructor in orthopaedic surgery at Harvard Medical School. "Our study confirms that pediatricians need to continue their current screening strategies for hip dysplasia. However, our findings refute a recent report from The United States Preventive Services Task Force that was unable to recommend screening strategies."

Symptoms associated with hip dysplasia in infants can include: legs that appear asymmetrical during diaper change or a limp or waddle as a toddler walks.

Dr. Mahan and her colleagues analyzed data from more than 70 research studies and clinical trials dating back to 1939. They compared long-term outcomes in the following screening strategies:

  • Ultrasound screening for hip dysplasia for all newborns
  • A physical exam by a pediatrician for all newborns with ultrasound screening used selectively only for infants with risk factors

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SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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