Need to establish a national diagnostic capacity for foetal alcohol spectrum disorders

Authors

  • Raewyn Mutch,

    1. Centre for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, Perth,
    2. Telethon Institute of Child Health Research,
    3. The Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Subiaco, Perth, Western Australia,
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Elizabeth M Peadon,

    1. The Children's Hospital at Westmead,
    2. University of Sydney and
    3. The Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit, Sydney, New Sound Wales, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Elizabeth J Elliott,

    1. The Children's Hospital at Westmead,
    2. University of Sydney and
    3. The Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit, Sydney, New Sound Wales, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Carol Bower

    1. Centre for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, Perth,
    2. Telethon Institute of Child Health Research,
    Search for more papers by this author

Dr Raewyn Mutch, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, PO Box 855 West Perth, WA 6872, Australia. Fax: +08 9489 7700; email: raewynm@ichr.uwa.edu.au

Abstract

Alcohol exposure in pregnancy can induce a broad range of physical and developmental defects in the child, collectively known as foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). In Australia, there are proven gaps in our knowledge and practice for recognising and diagnosing FASD. The challenge for the Australian health professional is agreeing on a model for diagnosing and treating FASD. The diagnostic method must be evidence based, sensitive and specific, and account for other exposures during pregnancy and early life events. Training in application of the diagnostic method needs to be readily available in metropolitan and regional Australia. The University of Washington FASD 4-digit diagnostic code fulfils all of these best practice criteria, recommending itself as the method of choice.

Ancillary