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July 1994

Lead Screening Among High-Risk Urban ChildrenAre the 1991 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines Feasible?

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148(7):688-693. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1994.02170070026004

Objective:  To determine whether the 1991 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lead poisoning prevention guidelines for biannual screening and retesting are feasible among a high-risk population.

Methods:  For 632 urban high-risk children aged 9 to 25 months who used a pediatric primary care center between 1989 and 1991, we assessed physician screening practices and the need to increase utilization to meet guidelines for retesting. Analysis also focused on missed opportunities for lead screening. For 425 urban high-risk children who were long-term utilizers of the center, we assessed the need to increase utilization to meet guidelines for biannual screening.

Results:  Screening was not up to date in 55%, 34%, and 29% of children at ages 9 to 13 months, 14 to 19 months, and 20 to 25 months, respectively. These children had a mean of 2.3, 2.5, and 2.3 missed opportunities during each age period. Among children who had made well-child visits, in 41%, 36%, and 28% of children screening was not up to date at each age period. Between ages 13 and 37 months, 42% of long-term clinic utilizers made sufficient visits to achieve biannual screening. Sixty-five percent of children who were screened made a subsequent visit within 2 to 5 months, at which time retesting could have been performed.

Conclusions:  At this primary care center, many high-risk children, including those who had made well-child visits, were not appropriately screened for lead toxic effects. Children not screened had many missed opportunities at all types of visits, including well-child visits. Many children visited frequently enough to achieve biannual screening and retesting without increased numbers of visits if non–well-child visits had been used as opportunities for retesting.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148:688-693)