Introducing universal ultrasound screening for developmental dysplasia of the hip doubled the treatment rate

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There is no evidence on the effect of universal ultrasound screening on developmental dysplasia of the hip. We examined the impact of adding an ultrasound examination to a one examiner clinical screening strategy on treatment, follow-up rates and the number of cases detected late in a low-prevalence population.


All eligible babies born at Kongsberg Hospital, Norway, from 1998 to 2006 (n = 4245) underwent both clinical and ultrasound hip examinations within three days of life. Indications for immediate treatment were positive Barlow or Ortolani manoeuvres and, or, sonographic dysplasia. Sonographic immature hips were followed until normalisation. Treatment rates and rates from the 1989 to 1997 prestudy period (n = 3594), including late diagnoses, were collected from hospital records.


Treatment was initiated in 90 (2.1%) infants (74 girls), 63 (70%) from birth, compared to 33 (0.9%) during the prestudy period. The follow-up rate did not change (11%). There were two (0.5/1000) and four (1.0/1000) cases detected late, respectively. No one underwent surgery during the first year of life and no avascular necrosis was seen.


Adding universal ultrasound to clinical screening performed by the same, experienced paediatrician doubled the treatment rate, without influencing the already low numbers of late cases.

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