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An epidemiological study of holoprosencephaly from a regional congenital anomaly register: 1995-2004.

BACKGROUND: Adequate contemporary information to counsel patients with a prenatal diagnosis of holoprosencephaly is lacking. We addressed this using data from the West Midlands Congenital Anomaly Register (WMCAR), a population-based malformation register, during a time where technological improvements have been stable and anomaly screening is well established.

METHODS: Cases were defined using the ICD 10 code for holoprosencephaly. Cases of livebirths, stillbirths and termination at all gestations were included in the study. The diagnosis was verified by a pathology or definitive radiological report with cross validation from the regional pathology, clinical genetics, cytogenetics and fetal medicine databases.

RESULTS: There were 113 cases reported of holoprosencephaly for the years 1995-2004. This represents a prevalence of 1.7 per 10,000 births and terminations, with no change in prevalence over time. There was a decreased risk of holoprosencephaly in the white population [white vs. nonwhite; RR 0.53(0.36-0.79)]. Karyotypical abnormality was noted in 46% of cases where the karyotype was known. Trisomy 13 was the most common chromosomal abnormality. Correct allocation of a diagnosis of holoprosencephaly by ultrasound occurred in 77% of cases, with another 12% having a severe intracranial abnormality but was not reported as holoprosencephaly. In 4%, a prenatal diagnosis of holoprosencephaly was not made. Termination of pregnancy was performed in 80% of all cases.

CONCLUSION: Holoprosencephaly is a morbid condition associated with significant secondary etiologies.

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