Epidemiology of Robin sequence in the UK and Ireland: an active surveillance study

Marie F A Wright*, Rachel L Knowles, Mario Cortina-Borja, Sheila Javadpour, FV Mehendale, Donald S Urquhart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: Birth prevalence of Robin sequence (RS) is commonly reported as 1 case per 8000-14 000 live births. These estimates are based on single-source case ascertainment and may miss infants who did not require hospital admission or those without overt upper airway obstruction at birth.

Objectives: To identify the true birth prevalence of RS with cleft palate in the UK and Ireland from a population-based birth cohort with high case ascertainment.

Methods: Active surveillance of RS with cleft palate was carried out in the UK/Ireland using dual sources of case ascertainment: British Paediatric Surveillance Unit (BPSU) reporting card and nationally commissioned cleft services. Clinical data were collected from notifying clinicians at two time points.

Results: 173 live-born infants met the surveillance case definition, giving a birth prevalence of 1 case per 5250 live births (19.1 per 100 000 (95% CI 16.2 to 21.9)), and 1:2690 in Scotland. 47% had non-isolated RS, with Stickler syndrome the most common genetic diagnosis (12% RS cases). Birth prevalence derived from the combined data sources was significantly higher than from BPSU surveillance alone.

Conclusions: Birth prevalence of RS in the UK/Ireland derived from active surveillance is higher than reported by epidemiological studies from several other countries, and from UK-based anomaly registries, but consistent with published retrospective data from Scotland. Dual case ascertainment sources enabled identification of cases with mild or late-onset airway obstruction that were managed without hospital admission. Studies of aetiology and equivalent well-designed epidemiological studies from other populations are needed to investigate the identified geographical variability in birth prevalence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)748-753
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
Issue number9
Early online date27 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2023


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