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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Sep;87(9):4106-10.

High reliability of neonatal screening for congenital adrenal hyperplasia in Switzerland.

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Department of Endocrinology and Diabetology, University Children's Hospital, CH-8032 Zurich, Switzerland.


Newborn screening for congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is justified by the sometimes difficult clinical diagnosis and the risks associated with missed diagnosis, particularly the life-threatening salt-wasting crisis. In Switzerland, nationwide screening for CAH by measuring 17-hydroxyprogesterone levels in dried blood spots was introduced in 1992. At the Zurich University Children's Hospital, 50% of the population of Switzerland is screened. The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficiency of the Zurich screening program. Between January 1, 1993, and May 31, 2001, 333,221 newborns were screened for CAH. Thirty-one newborns had CAH (incidence, 1 in 10,749); 30 were detected through screening (sensitivity, 97%). A recall for suspected CAH was performed in only 60 cases, corresponding to a very low recall rate (0.0018%). In 30 recalls CAH was confirmed (positive predictive value, 50%; specificity, 99.99%). Fifteen of 31 patients profited from screening, as CAH had not been recognized clinically. The timely availability of screening results made therapy possible within the first week of life in most cases and helped in preventing salt-wasting crisis in all patients. With a sensitivity of 97%, a specificity of 99.99%, and a positive predictive value of 50%, the Zurich neonatal screening program for CAH can be considered highly reliable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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