Open Access Open Badges Research article

Congenital anomalies among live births in a polluted area. A ten-year retrospective study

Emilio Antonio Luca Gianicolo1*, Antonella Bruni1, Enrico Rosati2, Saverio Sabina1, Roberto Guarino1, Gabriella Padolecchia4, Carlo Leo4, Maria Angela Vigotti35, Maria Grazia Andreassi3 and Giuseppe Latini12

Author Affiliations

1 National Research Council, Institute of Clinical Physiology, Campus Ecotekne Building A7, Via per Monteroni, 73100, Lecce, Italy

2 Division of Neonatology, Perrino Hospital, Brindisi, Italy

3 National Research Council, Institute of Clinical Physiology, Pisa, Italy

4 Local Health Unit, Brindisi, Italy

5 University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2012, 12:165  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-165

Published: 27 December 2012



Congenital anomalies and their primary prevention are a crucial public health issue. This work aimed to estimate the prevalence of congenital anomalies in Brindisi, a city in southeastern Italy at high risk of environmental crisis.


This research concerned newborns up to 28 days of age, born between 2001 and 2010 to mothers resident in Brindisi and discharged with a diagnosis of congenital anomaly. We classified cases according to the coding system adopted by the European Network for the Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies (EUROCAT). Prevalence rates of congenital anomalies in Brindisi were compared with those reported by EUROCAT. Logistic regression models were adapted to evaluate the association between congenital anomalies and municipality of residence of the mother during pregnancy.


Out of 8,503 newborns we recorded 194 subjects with congenital anomalies (228.2/10,000 total births), 1.2 times higher than the one reported by the EUROCAT pool of registries. We observed 83 subjects with congenital heart diseases with an excess of 49.1%. Odds Ratios for congenital heart diseases significantly increased for newborns to mothers resident in Brindisi (OR 1.75 CI 95% 1.30-2.35).


Our findings indicated an increased prevalence of Congenital Anomalies (especially congenital heart diseases) in the city of Brindisi. More research is needed in order to analyze the role of factors potentially involved in the causation of congenital anomalies.

Congenital anomalies; Hospital discharge data; Surveillance of birth defects; Registers of congenital anomalies