Disparities in Health Supervision for Children With Down Syndrome

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Increasing evidence suggests children with Down syndrome do not receive recommended health care services. We retrospectively assessed adherence to the 2001 American Academy of Pediatrics health supervision guidelines for 124 children with Down syndrome. Cervical spine radiographs were completed for 94% of children, often preoperatively. Adherence to complete blood count recommendations was 55% (95% CI 44% to 66%); lower for males (P = .01) and children with private medical insurance (P = .04). Adherence to thyroid function recommendations was 61% (95% CI 54% to 67%); higher for children seen by a pediatrician (P = .002) and with known thyroid disease (P < .0001). Adherence to audiology and ophthalmology recommendations was 33% (95% CI 27% to 40%) and 43% (95% CI 37% to 50%), respectively. Adherence rates were higher for children referred to an otolaryngologist (P = .0002) and with known eye disease (P < .0001). Future efforts should identify barriers to care and improve adherence to recommended screening.

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