Congenital Malformations

  • Michael Alderson


Gregg (1941) noticed a change in the proportion of children referred to his clinic in Australia with certain eye defects. This stimulated him to initiate studies into the association between maternal rubella and congenital abnormality in the subsequently born child, which led to a clear demonstration of one of the factors that could cause congenital malformations. About the same time, the proportion of the overall fetal loss due to congenital malformation rose, as the other causes of stillbirth and neonatal death declined. In England and Wales 11 per cent of all neonatal deaths were certified as due to congenital malformations; by 1945 this proportion had risen to 14 per cent, and by 1985 to 32 per cent. This rise gradually brought the topic into greater prominence and attention was sharply focused by the thalidomide disaster in the 1960s. More recent trends in the proportion of fetal loss due to congenital malformations in England and Wales are given in Table 5.1, which shows an initial rise and then a fall in the proportion of stillbirths from congenital malformations in the period 1968–84; the neonatal deaths show a fairly steady increase throughout the period.

Table 5.1

Proportion of stillbirths and neonatal deaths due to congenital malformation, England and Wales, 1968–84


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5.4 Bibliography 5.4.1 Routine National Publications

  1. Belgium Annuaire Statistique de la Sante Publique (Ministere de la Sante Publique et de la Famille)Google Scholar
  2. NetherlandsCompendium Gezondheidsstatistiek Nederland (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek)Google Scholar
  3. New Zealand Congenital Anomaly Registration (National Health Statistics Centre)Google Scholar

5.4.2 Descriptions of National Systems

  1. Argentina Castilla et al. (1974)Google Scholar
  2. Chile Castilla et al. (1974)Google Scholar
  3. Czechoslovakia Kucera (1977)Google Scholar
  4. Denmark Howitz and Knudsen (1982)Google Scholar
  5. Finland Hultin (1971)Google Scholar
  6. Hungary Czeizel (1973, 1978)Google Scholar
  7. New Zealand Foster (1979)Google Scholar
  8. Norway Bjerkedal (1980)Google Scholar
  9. Sweden Kallen and Winberg (1968)Google Scholar
  10. Uruguay Castilla et al. (1974)Google Scholar

5.4.3 Trend Statistics

  1. Canada 1950–69: Elwood and Elwood (1982)Google Scholar
  2. England and Wales 1971–80: OPCS (1983b)Google Scholar
  3. Northern Ireland 1957–69: Elwood and Elwood (1982)Google Scholar
  4. Norway 1967–73: Bjerkedal and Bakketeig (1975)Google Scholar
  5. Sweden 1947–81 Kallen and Lofkvist (1984)Google Scholar
  6. United States Wehrung and Hay (1970)Google Scholar

5.4.4 General Method

  1. Gittelsohn (1971); Hook et al. (1971)Google Scholar

5.4.5 Aetiological Studies

  1. Roberts and Lloyd (1973); Saxen (1975)Google Scholar

5.4.6 Classification

  1. Lowrig et al (1977)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael Alderson 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Alderson
    • 1
  1. 1.SouthamptonUK

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