Susan J. Astley, Julia M. Bledsoe, Julian K. Davies, John C. Thorne
Background: As clinicians strive to achieve consensus worldwide on how best to diagnose fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), the most recent FASD diagnostic systems exhibit convergence and divergence. Applying these systems to a single clinical population illustrates contrasts between them, but validation studies are ultimately required to identify the best system. Currently, only the 4-Digit Code has published comprehensive validation studies. Methods: The 4-Digit Code and Hoyme 2016 FASD systems were applied to the records of 1,392 patients evaluated for FASD at the University of Washington to: 1) Compare the diagnostic criteria and tools used by each system, 2) Compare the prevalence and concordance of diagnostic outcomes and assess measures of validity. Results: Only 38% of patients received concordant diagnoses. The Hoyme criteria rendered half as many diagnoses under the umbrella of FASD (n=558) as the 4-Digit Code (n=1,092) and diagnosed a much higher proportion (53%) as fetal alcohol syndrome/partial fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS/PFAS) than the 4-Digit Code (7%). Key Hoyme factors contributing to discordance included relaxation of facial criteria (40% had the Hoyme FAS face, including patients with confirmed absence of alcohol exposure); setting alcohol exposure thresholds prevented 1/3 with confirmed exposure from receiving FAS/FASD diagnoses; and setting minimum age limits for Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder prevented 79% of alcoholexposed infants with neurodevelopmental impairment a FASD diagnosis. The Hoyme Lip/Philtrum Guides differ substantively from the 4-Digit Lip-Philtrum Guides and thus are not valid for use with the 4-Digit Code. Conclusions: All FASD diagnostic systems need to publish comprehensive validation studies to identify which is the most accurate, reproducible, and medically valid.
Published Date: 2017-12-30;