Background: Diagnosis and early treatment of developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) continue to be issues of discussion. In 1992, a nationwide general ultrasound screening program using Graf technique was introduced to detect DDH in Austria. We investigated the effects of this program on the rates of operative and conservative interventions and the influence of the program on the number of hospital admissions for the treatment of DDH.
Methods: All cases of DDH documented in Austrian hospitals from 1992 to 2008 were included in this retrospective study. The database of the Austrian Ministry of Health was used to extract documented diagnoses and treatments.
Results: Since the introduction of the screening program, the number of patients who require pelvic surgery to treat DDH has decreased by 46 % and the number of open reductions is as low as 0.16 per 1,000 live births. Hospital admissions for the treatment of DDH decreased from 9.5 to 3.6 per 1,000 live births. All noted results gained statistical significance.
Conclusion: Compared with routine clinically based screening programs, our results confirm low numbers of open reductions and pelvic surgeries. We, therefore, advocate a standardized nationwide general ultrasound screening program to reduce the rates of operative interventions and hospital admissions associated with the treatment of DDH.
Level of evidence: Level III, diagnostic.