Objective: Congenital heart disease (CHD) is common in newborns with myelomeningocele. Echocardiography before neonatal back closure has been recommended. Its utility in the era of prenatal diagnosis is unclear.
Study design: We reviewed all newborns with myelomeningocele evaluated by preoperative echocardiography at our institution over 11 years.
Result: Seventy-six successive newborns were identified. Ninety-one percent were prenatally diagnosed with myelomeningocele. In all, 1% had critical, 12% critical or non-critical and 22% critical, non-critical or possible CHD. The single case of critical CHD was both prenatally diagnosed and clinically identifiable.
Conclusion: The prevalence of CHD in newborns with myelomeningocele is increased compared with the general population; however, critical disease is uncommon. We propose preoperative echocardiography is unnecessary when the myelomeningocele is prenatally diagnosed, antenatal cardiac screening is complete and normal, and the newborn is clinically well.