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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Congenital malformations among newborns admitted in the neonatal unit of a tertiary hospital in Enugu, South-East Nigeria - a retrospective study

Herbert A Obu1*, Josephat M Chinawa2, Nwachinemere D Uleanya2, Gilbert N Adimora2 and Ikechukwu E Obi3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Paediatrics, University of Nigeria/Teaching Hospital, P O Box 14587, Agbani Road PO, Enugu, 400001, Nigeria

2 Department of Paediatrics, University of Nigeria/Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria

3 Department of Community Medicine, University of Nigeria/Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:177  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-177

Published: 3 April 2012



Congenital abnormalities are not uncommon among newborns and contribute to neonatal and infant morbidity and mortality. The prevalence and pattern of presentation vary from place to place. Many a time the exact etiology is unknown but genetic and environmental factors tend to be implicated.


The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of congenital malformations among newborns admitted in a tertiary hospital in Enugu, the nature of these abnormalities and the outcome/prognosis. For purposes of this study, congenital abnormalities are defined as obvious abnormality of structure or form which is present at birth or noticed within a few days after birth. A cross-sectional retrospective study in which a review of the records of all babies admitted in the Newborn Special Care Unit (NBSCU) of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku/Ozalla, Enugu over a four year period (January 2007-April 2011) was undertaken.

All babies admitted in the unit with the diagnosis of congenital abnormality were included in the study. Information extracted from the records included characteristics of the baby, maternal characteristics, nature/type of abnormalities and outcome.

Data obtained was analyzed using SPSS 13. Rates and proportions were calculated with 95% confidence interval. The proportions were compared using students T-test. Level of significance was set at Pā€‰<ā€‰0.05


Seventeen (17) out of a total of six hundred and seven newborn babies admitted in the newborn unit of UNTH over the study period (Jan 2007-March 2011) were found to have congenital abnormalities of various types, giving a prevalence of 2.8%. Common abnormalities seen in these babies were mainly surgical birth defects and included cleft lip/cleft palate, neural tube defects (occurring either singly or in combination with other abnormalities), limb abnormalities (often in combination with neural tube defects of various types), omphalocoele, umbilical herniae, ano-rectal malformations and dysmorphism associated with multiple congenital abnormalities.


The results of this study show that 2.8% of babies admitted to a Newborn Special Care Unit in a teaching hospital in Enugu had congenital abnormalities and that the commonest forms seen were mainly surgical birth defects and includes cleft lip/cleft palate and neural tube defects.

Congenital; Abnormalities; Newborns; Enugu