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Monday 26th August 2019

Birth defects not being detected

2nd August 2012

A new report has revealed that one out of every 45 babies born in England and Wales in 2012 had a congenital abnormality.


The annual report by the British Isles Network of Congenital Anomaly Registers (BINOCAR) collates data from six regional registers and covers around a third of all births in England and Wales.

However, it appears that a significant proportion of congenital abnormalities, such as club foot, neural tube defects, and heart defects are going unreported because there are no registers in London, the South East, the North West or East Anglia.

Report editor Professor Joan Morris, from the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, part of Queen Mary, University of London, said, concerns remained that substantial parts of the country were not currently monitored, meaning large regional increases in congenital anomalies could go unnoticed and their causes not investigated.

The second annual report, commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP), revealed that 2.2% of babies had a congenital abnormality in England and Wales in 2010, which is similar to other European countries.

Data revealed that congenital heart defects were the most common abnormality, affecting at least five in every 1000 births, while neural tube defects, such as spina bifida and gastroschisis affected one in 1000 babies.

Some conditions were more common in certain areas and babies born to younger mothers were most at risk, though a lot of abnormalities were being picked up during pregnancy.

BINOCAR chair Professor Elizabeth Draper from Leicester University said the report highlighted the value of the existing regional registers.


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