Newborn biliary atresia screening with the stool colour card: a questionnaire survey of parents

BMJ Paediatr Open. 2018 May 29;2(1):e000269. doi: 10.1136/bmjpo-2018-000269. eCollection 2018.


Purpose: Biliary atresia can easily be screened using a stool colour card (SCC) and has shown to significantly reduce time to diagnosis, improving children's outcome. Despite the general approval of the clinical usefulness of the SCC, physicians remain reluctant: it might unnecessarily worry parents. This study aimed to analyse the parental reaction to this screening method and if it evokes parental stress.

Methods: A semistructured questionnaire was sent to parents with one or more healthy child to inquire about reactions on receipt and use of the SCC.

Results: 109/256 questionnaires were returned and evaluated (43%). 107/107 parents considered the SCC as helpful, a simple screening method and easy to use (100%). 26/43 were reassured when receiving the SCC (60%), 2 were worried (5%) and 9 had no particular feelings (21%). In 41/49, emotions experienced during its use were positive or neutral (84%), and 3 were worried (6%). In 41/50, the discussion with the paediatrician about stool colour-linked pathologies was neutral (82%), and 9 felt uneasy (18%).

Conclusion: A vast majority of parents appreciate the SCC. It creates uneasiness in a minority of parents. Our results are encouraging and argue in favour of implementing the regular distribution of the SCC in antenatal, postnatal and newborn infant clinics.

Keywords: general paediatrics; hepatology; neonatology; screening.