Demography and management outcome of neural tube defects in a Nigerian tertiary health institution

Usman Babagana


Background: Neural tube defects (NTD) are a group of congenital anomalies of the central nervous system (CNS). Its management is very challenging. A recognised leading cause is a folic acid deficiency, therefore prevented by taking a preconception folic acid. This study looked at the demographic features and management outcome of neural tube defect, a fairly common preventable condition with the need to raise awareness on its preventive measures.

Methods: The study was conducted on 82 patients with NTD that were managed in federal medical centre Yola, in North-Eastern Nigeria. It was a retrospective study over a 4-year period, from January 2016 to December 2019.

Results: Ages at presentations ranged from 1 to 93 days with a mode of 3 days. There were 29 males and 53 females with a male to female ratio of 1:1.8. Spina bifida constituted 74.4%, encephalocele (20%), Anencephaly (5%). Types of spina bifida managed were myelomeningocele (63.5%), meningocele (33.3%), and lipo-myelomeningocele (3.2%). Two had a 2-level meningocele. Syndromic associations of myelomeningocele were with hydrocephalus (78.1%), foot deformity (22.2%), cardiac (2.5%), and anorectal malformation (2.5%). Ninety-five-point one had various surgeries with 30.8% developing postoperative complications. commonest was post excision of myelomeningocele and encephalocele hydrocephalus (29.1%) in 7 patients. Post-operative Mortality was reported in 2 patients (8.3%).

Conclusions: Myelomeningocele was the commonest NTD, and its syndromic association with hydrocephalus was common. A large number of patients had surgical interventions with a good outcome. Post-op mortality was minimal.



Demography, Management, Outcome, NTD

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