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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sally Lynch
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Background: Individuals with Down's syndrome are predisposed to a variety of medical conditions which can impose an additional, but preventable, burden of secondary disability. Although there are guidelines for health checks and medical management of children with Down's syndrome, the needs of adults are relatively neglected. Aim: To determine the prevalence of common medical problems in adults with Down's syndrome, and to assess current practice regarding medical surveillance of these patients. Design of study: Detailed notes analysis. Setting: Data were obtained from the primary care records of adults with Down's syndrome living in the Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead areas. Method: Case notes were reviewed to obtain details regarding complications and to determine the frequency of medical surveillance of individuals with Down's syndrome. Results: Complications such as hypothyroidism, coeliac disease, and obesity occur more frequently in adults with Down's syndrome than previous paediatric prevalence studies suggest. Surveillance of common complications that occur in individuals with Down's syndrome is infrequent. In this study, 48% of adults with Down's syndrome had not seen a doctor in the previous 12 months and 33% had not had a medical assessment in the previous 3 years. Conclusion: Many individuals with Down's syndrome do not have access to regular healthcare checks, despite the high frequency of common medical complications in adult life. Debate regarding the practicality and relevance of introducing regular health checks is warranted. © British Journal of General Practice.
Author(s): Henderson A, Lynch SA, Wilkinson S, Hunter M
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: British Journal of General Practice
ISSN (print): 0960-1643
ISSN (electronic): 1478-5242
Publisher: Royal College of General Practitioners
PubMed id: 17244425