Neonatal screening for congenital metabolic and endocrine disorders : results from Germany for the years 2006–2018
Background: The purpose of neonatal screening is the early detection of congenital metabolic and endocrine disorders that, if untreated, could lead to fatal crises or other long-term adverse sequelae. In Germany, neonatal screening is legally regulated. Quality-assurance reports (“DGNS reports”) are created and published annually by the German Society for Neonatal Screening (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neugeborenen-Screening). Data from the DGNS reports for the years 2006–2018 serve as the basis of the present publication. Methods: For the years 2006–2018, prevalences were calculated and data on process quality were evaluated. Results: Among 9 218 538 births, 6917 neonates were identified who had one of the target diseases. The overall prevalence was 75 per 100 000 neonates; the disorders most commonly found were congenital hypothyroidism (30 per 100 000) followed by phenylketonuria (PKU) and medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MCAD) (10 per 100 000 each). Of the 272 205 follow-up screenings requested, 80% were received. The rate of positive screening findings (recall rate) declined over the observation period, from 0.90% in 2006 to 0.37% in 2018. For every five positive screening findings, one case of a target disorder was confirmed. 79% of the children for whom treatment was indicated began to receive treatment within two weeks. Conclusion: The low recall rate and the early initiation of treatment in 79% of the affected children indicate that neonatal screening for metabolic and endocrine disorders in Germany is effective. The incorporation of tracking structures and the introduction of a registry could further improve the quality of the program.