Purpose: Primary prevention by periconceptional folic acid supplementation can significantly reduce the risk of neural tube defects. EUROCAT, the European network of population-based registries for the epidemiologic surveillance of congenital anomalies, lacks sufficient data on the birth prevalence of neural tube defects in Hungary before and after the promotion of primary prevention by folic acid. Our aims were to compare the birth prevalence of neural tube defects (myelomeningocele, anencephaly and encephalocele) over two 12-year periods in South-Eastern Hungary. Further aims were to compare our data to those ones in other areas in Europe. Methods: Data were collected from the databases of the Department of Hungarian Congenital Abnormality Registry. The total and live birth prevalence rate of neural tube defects were calculated and compared over 1980-1991 and 1994-2005. In addition, the trends in the total birth prevalence, the number of live births and terminations for and stillbirths with neural tube defects were analysed throughout the period of 1994-2005. Results: A significant decline was found in the total and live birth prevalence of myelomeningocele, anencephaly and encephalocele over 1994-2005 compared to the period of 1980-1991. The total birth prevalence of neural tube defects, however, showed a trend of increase after 1994, with declining number of live births and increasing number of terminations for neural tube defects. Conclusion: Public health measures are warranted in order to replace termination of pregnancy with primary prevention in South-Eastern Hungary.
- Neural tube defects
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Clinical Neurology