JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Associated malformations in cases with neural tube defects.

Infants with neural tube defects (NTDs) may have other associated congenital defects. The reported incidence and the types of associated malformations vary between different studies. The purpose of this investigation was to assess the prevalence of associated malformations in a geographically defined population. The prevalences at birth of associated malformations in infants with NTDs were collected between 1979 and 2003 on all infants born in the area covered by the registry of congenital anomalies of Northeastern France in 334,262 consecutive births. Of the 360 infants with NTDs born during this period, 20.5 % had associated malformations. Associated malformations were more frequent in infants who had encephalocele (37.5 %) than in infants with anencephaly (11.8 %) or infants with spina bifida (23.7 %). Malformations in the face (oral clefts), in the musculoskeletal system, in the renal system, and in the cardiovascular system were the most common other anomalies. In conclusion the overall prevalence of malformations, which was one in five infants, emphasizes the need for a thorough investigation of infants with NTDs. A routine screening for other malformations especially facial clefts, musculoskeletal, renal and cardiac anomalies may need to be considered in infants with NTDs, and genetic counseling seems warranted in most of these complicated cases.

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