Research Article

Screening for carriers of cystic fibrosis--a general practitioner's perspective.

BMJ 1993; 307 doi: (Published 02 October 1993) Cite this as: BMJ 1993;307:849
  1. M Modell
  1. Department of Primary Health Care, University College London Medical School, Whittington Hospital.


    The identification of the gene for cystic fibrosis has led to the possibility of population based screening for carriers of cystic fibrosis to identify couples at risk of having an affected child. Pilot studies have shown that screening is feasible and does not cause untoward anxiety, though the uptake of testing varies considerably with the setting and method of invitation. Screening offered at times when individuals (and health professionals) perceive it as directly relevant will probably gradually become established in the United Kingdom. This review examines the role of general practice in genetic carrier screening as exemplified by cystic fibrosis. General practice has a pivotal role from the beginning in providing individuals and couples with information, facilitating testing of patients' relatives and of carriers identified by screening elsewhere (such as antenatal clinics), and offering testing in the context of reproduction. Screening for the cystic fibrosis gene will probably be followed by other genetic screening programmes.