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Fifteen-minute consultation: Efficient investigation of the child with early developmental impairment in the era of genomic sequencing


The investigation of children with early developmental impairment (EDI) is challenging in terms of selecting investigations and supporting families through the diagnostic pathway. Modern genomic sequencing has the potential to greatly improve yield of investigation, but produces challenges in terms of timing and explaining its strengths/weaknesses to families. We present an evidence-based and practical guideline to help the paediatrician through all stages of investigation. We emphasise the importance of a really good history and examination, allowing targeted investigation for specific disorders and outline an approach for isolated EDI when this is not possible. This prioritises genetic investigation- after appropriate counselling to families, and balances the very low yield of biochemical/radiological investigations in isolated EDI, with the need to detect extremely rare, but potentially treatable disorders. Collaboration with both families and regional specialists to ensure appropriate testing is likely to reduce parental and clinician anxiety.

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