JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

The value of the postnatal examination in improving child health

K Green, S Oddie
Archives of Disease in Childhood. Fetal and Neonatal Edition 2008, 93 (5): F389-93
18463120
This paper reviews the evidence regarding whether a standardised examination in the newborn period can improve infant health. The review considers aspects of delivering such a service from timing and number of examinations through to who should perform examinations, and whether evidence supports current practice. Infants at higher risk of anomaly such as those born preterm are highlighted. Aspects of the examination itself are reviewed, such as detection of congenital heart disease, and the relatively poor detection rate which does not seem to be improving. Potential advantages of additional screening with pulse oximetry are covered. The paper also discusses screening for developmental dysplasia of the hip, which the UK national screening council is unsure of the benefit of, the difficulties of detecting all cases of cleft palate and problems with screening for the very important congenital cataract. The authors draw attention to the relative rarity of some conditions and reflected on how this complicates screening.

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