Associated anomalies with neural tube defects in fetal autopsies

Neural tube defects (NTD), the consequences of aberrant neural tube closure during embryogenesis, have been mostly investigated in terms of their high prevalence, rate of mortalities and serious morbidities. A proper prenatal outcome counseling of couples coming across a fetal anomaly necessitates the detection and categorization of the primer abnormality, all the co-existing malformations. The aim of this work is to study the incidence and relevance of associated malformations in order to offer a complete pathology report with a true diagnosis. In this study, among 542 fetal autopsy 62 (%11.4) cases with NTD was recorded by the Akdeniz University Pathology Department between January 2006 and June 2012. Twenty (32.4%) NTD cases were associated with anomaly. Twelve cases of associated groups consisted of a congenital syndrome/association, spondylothoracic dysplasia, amniotic band syndrome, Meckel–Gruber syndrome, schisis association. The frequency of associated NTD was 32%, this result was higher than previous reports. NTDs have a significant genetic component to their etiology that interacts with environmental risk factors, which might pose Turkey to be a country with high prevalence of NTD. We want to emphasize that intensive screening, documentation of co-existent abnormalities of NTD, should be conducted in order to exhibit certain diagnosis, to perform proper prenatal genetic counseling of parents for on-going/future pregnancies.