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Education And Debate

Commentary: Evidence based practice and antenatal ultrasonography—the need for more studies

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 16 November 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1254
  1. Paul Chamberlain, lecturera,
  2. P A Boyd, clinical geneticist and coordinatora
  1. a Oxford Prenatal Diagnosis Service, Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU

    An attempt to introduce evidence based practice and informed choice for pregnant women is a worthy aim. Women deciding whether to have screening for fetal abnormality, either by ultrasound scanning or biochemical serology, should be given adequate information to allow them to understand fully the advantages, disadvantages, and limitations of the available tests. The separate information leaflets produced for patients and carers, as described by S Oliver and colleagues, are generally good. However, they presume that the evidence on which they are based (primarily randomised controlled trials) is appropriate. This presumption may not be correct.

    For example, in the largest randomised controlled trial (RADIUS: routine antenatal diagnostic imaging with ultrasound) the end points used to evaluate ultrasound screening performed in the second and third trimesters included …

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