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Rev Med Chil. 2000 Oct;128(10):1113-8.

[Measurement of 17 OH progesterone in blood in Chilean newborns: antecedents for implementing a grogram for the neonatal detection of congenital adrenal hyperplasia].

[Article in Spanish]

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Departamento de Pediatría, Unidad de Endocrinología y Servicio de Laboratorios Clínicos, Facultad de Medicina, Pontificia Universidad Católica.



The early diagnosis and therapy of congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency can prevent adrenal crises and erroneous gender assignment in affected newborns. To achieve this goal neonatal mass-screening programs have been developed, measuring blood 17 alpha-hydroxyprogesterone (17OHP). In Chile there is no experience with this type of screening.


To develop a method for measuring 17OHP in filter paper blood specimens. To obtain reference ranges and determine neonatal 17OHP threshold levels according to gestational age and birth weight. To analyze factors affecting the cost-efficiency ratio and suggest recommendations for the organization of a neonatal screening program for CAH in Chile.


Nine hundred twenty two newborns were studied. 17OHP was measured using double antibody radioimmunoassay in filter paper blood samples obtained 48 h after birth. Reference ranges were determined according to gestational age and birth weight and a cutoff point of 25 ng/ml was established.


Seventeen newborns had 17OHP over the cutoff value. They were assessed by a pediatric endocrinologist and in none of them, CAH was confirmed. Therefore the false positive rate of the determination was 1.8%. Among these newborns with elevated 17OHP, 66% had a birth weight below 1.5 kg and 5.8%, a birth weight between 1.5 and 2.5 kg. The cost per reported result was US $ 1. Timing of the recall was between the 3 and 10 days of life. No newborn missed the follow-up.


To increase the cost-efficiency ratio of an eventual neonatal screening program, newborns with birth weights below 1.5 kg should be excluded and cutoff points should be defined according to birth weight (Rev Méd Chile 2000; 128: 1113-18).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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