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Researchers call for national funding to monitor all birth defects

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 02 August 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e5274
  1. Sophie Wedgwood
  1. 1London

Most congenital anomalies in England and Wales go unreported with the risk that clusters of defects could go undetected and not be investigated, says researchers.

The second annual report of congenital anomalies in England and Wales found that one in every 45 babies (2.2%, an estimated 16 000 babies) born in 2010 had a birth defect. This level of congenital anomalies has remained stable for the past five years and is similar to the rest of Europe.1

The report found that the most common anomalies were congenital heart defects, which affected at least five in 1000 births.

Neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, affected one in 1000 babies, as did gastroschisis. Regional monitoring has shown that gastroschisis has become more common in some areas, including …

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