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Ari Sami Hussain Nadhim *, Nasih Othman ** and Nabaz Mohammed Mustafa ***

*    Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sulaimani.
**  Sulaimani Polytechnic University, Sulaimani, Iraq.
*** Shaheed Dr Aso Hospital, Sulaimani, Iraq.

Submitted: 4/9/2013; Accepted: 3/2/2014; Published 1/12/2014



Very little is known about neural tube defects (NTDs) in Iraqi Kurdistan. This study was undertaken in Sulaymaniyah province in order to describe these defects in the area and report on the outcome of patients.


This descriptive study involved a case series of 50 patients admitted with NTD to the department of neurosurgery at Sulaimaniyah Teaching Hospital during 2006-2010.


Ninety eight patients were admitted to the centre of whom 50 patients were included in the study. The estimated incidence at birth was 3.5 per 10,000, 56% of the patients were females and 44% were males with a female to male ratio of 1.27. The median age at first visit was 9 days (Interquartile range 1, 36). The maternal age ranged from 17-42 years with a mean age of 28 years (SD 6 years). Eight percent of the children had siblings with NTDs, 6% had other anomalies and 12% of their parents were relatives in blood. The majority of lesions (76%) were myelomeningocele, 14% were meningocele and 10% were myeloschisis. Only half of the patients were diagnosed during pregnancy and 30% of all patients had hydrocephalus at time of diagnosis. There was no significant association between sex and site of lesion (P=0.3) and between sex and type of the lesion (P=0.5).


Establishment of prenatal screening is essential in order to help parents to be prepared and make an informed decision about pregnancy. Antenatal care must be strengthened for all pregnant women and folic acid supplementation should be emphasized.


Neural tube defect, spina bifida. Sulaimaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan, Case series.


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