Background: Neonatal instability of the hip (NIH), where the femoral head can move away from the acetabulum, in the first weeks of life, is an important risk factor for developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH). In rural areas in Australia, there is a recent trend to increased late diagnosis of DDH. Clinical screening of infant hips, a common practice in Australia, is experience dependent. Best practice early screening techniques are still debated with different techniques and timing used internationally. This systematic review examines early dynamic ultrasound (eDUS) screening for hip instability in the first 6 weeks after birth, and the early interventions informed by these findings and considers the findings for the context of rural Australia. Methods: The Cochrane Library, Medline, CINAHL and PEDro were searched for original research or systematic reviews, and clinical studies 1998 to 2015 involving dynamic ultrasound. Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tools were used to appraise the studies. Result: Nineteen studies were included. Early Dynamic Ultrasound (DUS) is consistently described as a reliable assessment of NIH. Early DUS is recommended for risk factors including geographical areas of high prevalence. Approaches to early intervention of hips with excessive movement are somewhat discipline-related and include: primary prevention (advice), secondary prevention (abduction supports), and conservative management (removable splints). Conclusions: In the context of increased prevalence of DDH in rural Australia, contemporary evidence suggests that introduction of early DUS could provide rural infants with more effective screening than clinical examination alone. Targeted early advice about posturing and simple removable supports to abduct infant hips could prevent some cases of DDH in rural Australia.
- Developmental dysplasia of hip
- Dynamic ultrasound
- Neonatal instability of hip