Objective: Children with Down syndrome (DS) have an increased risk of neonatal complications and comorbidities compared to the general population; however, the incidence, optimal screening intervals and outcomes in this population are uncertain. The purpose of this study is to phenotypically define this population of children with DS using a large multi-age and ethnic sample and current American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Guidelines testing practices.
Method: This is a retrospective review of a large cohort of 1,108 children with DS (male=602; mean age at initial contact: 5.72 years, SD ± 5.51) who received care at the Sie Center for Down Syndrome (SCDS) at The Children’s Hospital Colorado from 2011 and 2016. Clinical data were collected from a prospective patient clinic database. Clinical details were collected, which included demographics, prenatal and birth history and complications, comorbidities, procedures, treatment plans and outcomes.
Results: Medical complications requiring admission to the neonatal intensive care unit were identified in 70.6% of children with DS. Frequent causes for these neonatal admissions included: Required oxygen (60.7%), feeding problem (48.2%), Respiratory Distress Syndrome (21.4%) and pulmonary hypertension (14.7%). Incidence of medical comorbidities in our population with DS included cardiac defects (64.3%), abnormal sleep study (71.1%), abnormal thyroid study (29.1%), pulmonary aspiration (12.2%), celiac disease (5.0%) and pulmonary arterial hypertension (28.3%).
Conclusion: Clinical data provides results from one of the largest investigations at a single pediatric hospital for children and young adults with DS in the US. This study describes the comorbidities affecting individuals with DS more accurately by applying AAP guidelines in studying a larger population than previously defined. This result improves our understanding of the incidence and identification of medical conditions in children with DS and reinforces recommendations on medical care screening for individuals with DS.