Incidence and Types of Congenital Anomalies in Newborns in Sulaimaniyah City in Iraq

  • Niaz Mustafa Kamal Technical College of Health, Sulaimani Polytechnic University, Sulaimaniyah, Iraq.
  • Nasih Othman School of Health Policy and Management, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Keywords: Congenital anomalies, Incidence, Sulaimaniyah, Iraq


Congenital anomalies or birth defects can be acquired during the fetal stages of development or from the genetic makeup of the parents. Congenital anomalies are important causes of infant and childhood illness and disability. Little is known about incidence and types of these anomalies in Iraqi Kurdistan. Therefore, this study was undertaken to estimate the incidence and types of congenital anomalies in Sulaimaniyah city. The study was carried out on the hospital's records of all newborns registered as having a congenital anomaly. The records of 586 neonates with congenital anomalies were analyzed from a total of 178,954 live broths that occurred during 4 years in the city. The data was obtained from the statistics section of maternal and a child unit of the Preventive Health Department. The overall incidence of all types of congenital anomalies over the four years was 3.3/1000 live births. There was a statistically significant difference in incidence between males and females over the four years, male to female risk ratio 1.2 (95% CI 1.02-1.42, P= 0.03). The commonest congenital anomalies affected the cardiovascular system accounting for 24% followed by those of the nervous system with 16%. Down syndrome accounted for 14% of all anomalies and cleft lip/palate for 11%. Types of anomalies were statistically associated with low birth weight and maternal age. The study indicates that the incidence of congenital anomalies is not high in the region; however, more extensive studies are required to give a more realistic incidence.  


Sarkar S, Patra C, Dasgupta MK, Nayek K, Karmakar PR. Prevalence of congenital anomalies in neonates and associated risk factors in a tertiary care hospital in eastern India. Journal of clinical neonatology. 2013 Jul;2(3):131-4. PubMed PMID: 24251257. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC3830148. Epub 2013/11/20. eng.

Al-Ani ZR, Al-Haj SA, Al-Ani MM, Al-Dulaimy KM, Al-Maraie A, Al-Ubaidi B. Incidence, types, geographical distribution, and risk factors of congenital anomalies in Al-Ramadi Maternity and Children's Teaching Hospital, Western Iraq. Saudi medical journal. 2012 Sep;33(9):979-89. PubMed PMID: 22964810. Epub 2012/09/12. eng.

Bhide P, Gund P, Kar A. Prevalence of Congenital Anomalies in an Indian Maternal Cohort: Healthcare, Prevention, and Surveillance Implications. PloS one. 2016;11(11):e0166408. PubMed PMID: 27832123. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC5104451. Epub 2016/11/11. eng.

Russo MG, Paladini D, Pacileo G, Ricci C, Di Salvo G, Felicetti M, et al. Changing spectrum and outcome of 705 fetal congenital heart disease cases: 12 years, experience in a third-level center. Journal of cardiovascular medicine (Hagerstown, Md). 2008 Sep;9(9):910-5. PubMed PMID: 18695428. Epub 2008/08/13. eng.

Tayebi N, Yazdani K, Naghshin N. The prevalence of congenital malformations and its correlation with consanguineous marriages. Oman medical journal. 2010 Jan;25(1):37-40. PubMed PMID: 22125696. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC3215379. Epub 2010/01/01. eng.

Hussain S, Asghar I, Sabir MU, Chattha MN, Tarar SH, Mushtaq R. Prevalence and pattern of congenital malformations among neonates in the neonatal unit of a teaching hospital. JPMA The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association. 2014 Jun;64(6):629-34. PubMed PMID: 25252479. Epub 2014/09/26. eng.

Organization WH. Congenital anomalies World Health Organization. Updated September 2016. World Health Organization Available from:

Beckman DA, Brent RL. Mechanism of known environmental teratogens: drugs and chemicals. Clinics in perinatology. 1986 Sep;13(3):649-87. PubMed PMID: 3533369. Epub 1986/09/01. eng.

Kim MA, Yee NH, Choi JS, Choi JY, Seo K. Prevalence of birth defects in Korean livebirths, 2005-2006. Journal of Korean medical science. 2012 Oct;27(10):1233-40. PubMed PMID: 23091323. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC3468762. Epub 2012/10/24. eng.

Lamichhane DK, Leem JH, Park M, Kim JA, Kim HC, Kim JH, et al. Increased prevalence of some birth defects in Korea, 2009-2010. BMC pregnancy and childbirth. 2016 Mar 22;16:61. PubMed PMID: 27006092. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC4802851. Epub 2016/03/24. eng.

Singh K, Krishnamurthy K, Greaves C, Kandamaran L, Nielsen AL, Kumar A. Major congenital malformations in barbados: the prevalence, the pattern, and the resulting morbidity and mortality. ISRN obstetrics and gynecology. 2014;2014:651783. PubMed PMID: 25006483. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC4003834. Epub 2014/07/10. eng.

Venter PA, Christianson AL, Hutamo CM, Makhura MP, Gericke GS. Congenital anomalies in rural black South African neonates--a silent epidemic? South African medical journal = Suid-Afrikaanse tydskrif vir geneeskunde. 1995 Jan;85(1):15-20. PubMed PMID: 7784908. Epub 1995/01/01. eng.

Obu HA, Chinawa JM, Uleanya ND, Adimora GN, Obi IE. Congenital malformations among newborns admitted in the neonatal unit of a tertiary hospital in Enugu, South-East Nigeria - a retrospective study. BMC research notes. 2012;5:177. PubMed PMID: 22472067.

Azzie G, Bickler S, Farmer D, Beasley S. Partnerships for developing pediatric surgical care in low-income countries. Journal of pediatric surgery. 2008 Dec;43(12):2273-4. PubMed PMID: 19040951. Epub 2008/12/02. eng.

Innes K, Hooper J, Bramley M, DahDah P. Creation of a clinical classification. International statistical classification of diseases and related health problems--10th revision, Australian modification (ICD-10-AM). Health information management : journal of the Health Information Management Association of Australia. 1997 Mar-May;27(1):31-8. PubMed PMID: 10169442. Epub 1997/02/06. eng.

Ekanem B, Bassey IE, Mesembe OE, Eluwa MA, Ekong MB. Incidence of congenital malformation in 2 major hospitals in Rivers state of Nigeria from 1990 to 2003. Eastern Mediterranean health journal = La revue de sante de la Mediterranee orientale = al-Majallah al-sihhiyah li-sharq al-mutawassit. 2011 Sep;17(9):701-5. PubMed PMID: 22259922. Epub 2012/01/21. eng.

Himmetoglu O, Tiras MB, Gursoy R, Karabacak O, Sahin I, Onan A. The incidence of congenital malformations in a Turkish population. International journal of gynaecology and obstetrics: the official organ of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics. 1996 Nov;55(2):117-21. PubMed PMID: 8960991. Epub 1996/11/01. eng.

Delport SD, Christianson AL, van den Berg HJ, Wolmarans L, Gericke GS. Congenital anomalies in black South African liveborn neonates at an urban academic hospital. South African medical journal = Suid-Afrikaanse tydskrif vir geneeskunde. 1995 Jan;85(1):11-5. PubMed PMID: 7784907. Epub 1995/01/01. eng.

Sakic M, Sofradzija A. [Occurrence of congenital anomalies in neonates in the Sarajevo region]. Medicinski arhiv. 2002;56(3 Suppl 1):38-41. PubMed PMID: 12762244. Epub 2003/05/24. Ucestalost kongenitalnih anomalija kod novorodencadi sarajevskog regiona. hrv.

Egbe A, Uppu S, Lee S, Stroustrup A, Ho D, Srivastava S. Congenital malformations in the newborn population: a population study and analysis of the effect of sex and prematurity. Pediatrics and neonatology. 2015 Feb;56(1):25-30. PubMed PMID: 25267275. Epub 2014/10/01. eng.

Dutta V, Chaturvedi P. Congenital malformations in rural Maharashtra. Indian pediatrics. 2000 Sep;37(9):998-1001. PubMed PMID: 10992337. Epub 2000/09/19. eng.

Tennant PW, Samarasekera SD, Pless-Mulloli T, Rankin J. Sex differences in the prevalence of congenital anomalies: a population-based study. Birth defects research Part A, Clinical and molecular teratology. 2011 Oct;91(10):894-901. PubMed PMID: 21987467. Epub 2011/10/12. eng.

Sokal R, Tata LJ, Fleming KM. Sex prevalence of major congenital anomalies in the United Kingdom: a national population-based study and international comparison meta-analysis. Birth defects research Part A, Clinical and molecular teratology. 2014 Feb;100(2):79-91. PubMed PMID: 24523198. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC4016755. Epub 2014/02/14. eng.

Xia L, Sun L, Wang X, Yao M, Xu F, Cheng G, et al. Changes in the Incidence of Congenital Anomalies in Henan Province, China, from 1997 to 2011. PloS one. 2015;10(7):e0131874. PubMed PMID: 26161554. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC4498818. Epub 2015/07/15. eng.

Mashuda F, Zuechner A, Chalya PL, Kidenya BR, Manyama M. Pattern and factors associated with congenital anomalies among young infants admitted at Bugando medical centre, Mwanza, Tanzania. BMC research notes. 2014;7:195. PubMed PMID: 24679067.

Walden RV, Taylor SC, Hansen NI, Poole WK, Stoll BJ, Abuelo D, et al. Major congenital anomalies place extremely low birth weight infants at higher risk for poor growth and developmental outcomes. Pediatrics. 2007 Dec;120(6):e1512-9. PubMed PMID: 17984212. Epub 2007/11/07. eng.

Zhang X, Li S, Wu S, Hao X, Guo S, Suzuki K, et al. Prevalence of birth defects and risk-factor analysis from a population-based survey in Inner Mongolia, China. BMC pediatrics. 2012 Aug 18;12:125. PubMed PMID: 22900612. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC3473296. Epub 2012/08/21. eng.

Luke B, Brown MB. Elevated risks of pregnancy complications and adverse outcomes with increasing maternal age. Human reproduction (Oxford, England). 2007 May;22(5):1264-72. PubMed PMID: 17289684. Epub 2007/02/10. eng.

Gill SK, Broussard C, Devine O, Green RF, Rasmussen SA, Reefhuis J. Association between maternal age and birth defects of unknown etiology: United States, 1997-2007. Birth defects research Part A, Clinical and molecular teratology. 2012 Dec;94(12):1010-8. PubMed PMID: 22821755. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC4532312. Epub 2012/07/24. eng.

How to Cite
Mustafa Kamal N, Othman N. Incidence and Types of Congenital Anomalies in Newborns in Sulaimaniyah City in Iraq. Acta Med Iran. 56(12):769-776.