Background: To find out about the prenatal diagnosis rate of myelomeningocele (MMC) by ultrasound scan in patients referred to the Children's Hospital Medical Center in Tehran, Iran from July 2004 to July 2005.
Methods: We included 140 children born with MMC and who were referred for management, surgery and treatment of complications associated with it. The ultrasound reports were examined. Data on sex, age, location of MMC, time of prenatal ultrasound and the trimester in which the diagnosis was made along with the results of the diagnosis (MMC, hydrocephalus, or both), were collected.
Results: Among the studied patients, 136 (97.1%) cases had prenatal ultrasound, amongst those, 58 (42.6%) sonographic evaluations were diagnostic for hydrocephalus and/or MMC. The prenatal ultrasound was positive for MMC in 16 (11.8%), hydrocephalus in 25 (18.4%) and both MMC and hydrocephalus in 17 (12.5%) cases. Among all cases with prenatal diagnosis of MMC, 3.4% were detected in the first, 31% in the second and 65.5% in the third trimester. Thoracic/thoracolumbar lesions were found prenatally in 40% of cases, which is significantly higher than the detection rate of other locations including cervical/cervicothoracic and lumbar/lumbosacral/sacral regions diagnosed only in 0% and 21% of cases respectively.
Conclusion: There is a large difference between the detection rate of our population (24.3%) compared to others (68%). Pregnant women should have an ultrasound at 20-22 week for detection of congenital anomalies including MMC.