Intractable Rare Dis Res. 2021;10(2):81-87. (DOI: 10.5582/irdr.2021.01016)

The prevalence and patterns of chromosome abnormalities in newborns with major congenital anomalies: A retrospective study from Saudi Arabia

El-Attar LM, Bahashwan AA, Bakhsh AD, Moshrif YM


Congenital anomalies are a worldwide health problem that places a burden on the family and society. Chromosome abnormalities are one of the leading causes for congenital anomalies in newborns. Despite the remarkable development in cytogenetic services in the past years, still there are limited data from Middle East countries. The current study aimed to evaluate the prevalence and patterns of chromosomal aberrations in newborns admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with major congenital anomalies at Medina province in the western region of Saudi Arabia. Out of 2,541 live births, 150 newborns were selected based on the presence of major birth defects. Demographic and clinical data were collected from hospital medical records and statistically analyzed. The prevalence of major congenital anomalies was 10.7/1,000 live births (95% CI: 9.076- 12.583). The most common congenital anomalies in descending order were congenital heart disease, musculoskeletal and chromosome abnormalities. The birth prevalence of chromosome abnormalities was 4.22/1,000 live births (95% CI: 3.211-5.441). The most common chromosome abnormality was Down syndrome-nondisjunction type (66%). Advanced parental age was strongly associated with chromosome aberrations (p < 0.001) while consanguinity was evident in cases with normal karyotype (p < 0.001). High birth prevalence of chromosome abnormalities in newborns with congenital anomalies in Al Madinah was evident and advanced parental age is a potential risk factor. A local registry system for congenital anomalies is highly recommended to provide proper health services to high risk families.

KEYWORDS: congenital anomalies, chromosome abnormalities, birth prevalence, newborns, Down syndrome

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