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Screening of newborn infants for cholestatic hepatobiliary disease

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 27 November 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1435

Does test fulfil screening criteria?

  1. Eithne Linnane, specialist registrar in public health medicine (,
  2. Ashish Paul, specialist registrar in public health medicine,
  3. Parry Ruth, consultant in public health medicine
  1. North Wales Health Authority, Mold, Flintshire CH7 1PZ
  2. Institute of Child Health, London WC1N 1EH

    EDITOR—Mushtaq et al report their evaluation of a potential screening test for conjugated hyperbilirubinaemia in infants.1 Were this test to be considered in the implementation of a screening programme, however, several other issues would need to be considered along with the test itself.

    The criteria of Wilson and Jungner,2 which have recently been updated and adopted by the national screening committee, are seen by many as the gold standard of screening assessment.3 Mushtaq et al do not overtly state the hypothesis that they are testing. They simply say that they wished to evaluate tandem mass spectrometry for the detection of conjugated hyperbilirubinaemia in neonates. Application of the Wilson and Jungner screening criteria before the study began would have highlighted any potential difficulties in a future screening programme regardless …

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