Background: Attitudes of Australian CF healthcare professionals toward population-based cystic fibrosis (CF) carrier screening were examined.
Method: A purpose-designed questionnaire was distributed to 111 respiratory physicians and 30 CF clinic coordinators throughout Australia.
Results: Seventy-one questionnaires (52 physicians and 19 coordinators (46.8%, 63.3% respectively)) were returned. Forty respondents (56.3%) supported population-based carrier screening for CF. Support for screening was associated with rating the factors: carrier risk being 1 in 25 (OR 1.72 (1.12, 2.65)), reassurance when both partners test negative (OR 1.67 (1.12, 2.46)) and the daily treatment regimen for CF patients (OR 1.59 (1.05, 2.42)) as important. Opposition to screening was associated with identifying potential discrimination against carriers as a disadvantage (OR 0.3 (0.12, 0.88)), and limitations of predicting clinical outcomes as a barrier (OR 0.46 (0.25, 0.83)).
Conclusions: There is moderate support for population-based carrier screening for CF by Australian CF healthcare professionals. Perceived barriers to implementation are surmountable.
Keywords: Attitudes; Carrier screening; Cystic fibrosis carrier screening; Genetic screening; Population screening.