Ari Sami Hussain Nadhim*
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.
Neural tube defects in Sulaimaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan: a descriptive study of 50 cases
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.
Keywords: Neural tube defect, spina bifida. Sulaimaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan, case series.