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Authors' reply

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 18 November 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1372
  1. J Fletcher,
  2. N R Hicks,
  3. J D S Kay,
  4. P A Boyd
  1. Senior registrar in public health medicine Consultant public health physician Department of Public Health and Health Policy, Oxfordshire Health, Oxford OX3 7LG
  2. Consultant chemical pathologist Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Oxford Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU
  3. Clinical coordinator for prenatal diagnosis Maternity Department, Oxford Radcliffe Hospital

    EDITOR,--One of the advantages of using decision analysis as a tool for considering the consequences of different screening policies is that the assumptions and numerical values on which the model's predictions are based are explicit. If there is debate about the assumptions or the numbers that should be used in the calculations it is easy to recalculate the model with the new numbers.

    David Murray and Barry Tennison suggest that our estimate of 75% for the uptake of amniocentesis in women aged 35 and over is too high. If their suggested figure of 45% is used the number of cases of Down's syndrome detected in Oxfordshire by a policy of offering amniocentesis to women aged 35 and over drops from 4.7 to 2.8/year, the number of miscarriages induced …

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