Factors associated with the timeliness of postnatal surgical repair of spina bifida.

Childs Nerv Syst. 2016 Aug;32(8):1479-87. doi: 10.1007/s00381-016-3105-3. Epub 2016 May 14.

Factors associated with the timeliness of postnatal surgical repair of spina bifida.



Clinical guidelines recommend repair of open spina bifida (SB) prenatally or within the first days of an infant’s life. We examined maternal, infant, and health care system factors associated with time-to-repair among infants with postnatal repair.


This retrospective, statewide, population-based study examined infants with SB born in Florida 1998-2007, ascertained by the Florida Birth Defects Registry. We used procedure codes from hospital discharge records to identify the first recorded myelomeningocelerepair (ICD-9 CM procedure code 03.52) among infants with birth hospitalizations. Using Poisson multivariable regression, we examined time-to-repair by hydrocephalus, SB type (isolated [no other coded major birth defect] versus non-isolated), and other selected factors.


Of 199 infants with a recorded birth hospitalization and coded myelomeningocele repair, 87.9 % had hydrocephalus and 19.6 % had non-isolated SB. About 76.4 % of infants had repair by day 2 of life. In adjusted analyses, infants with hydrocephalus were more likely to have timely repair (adjusted prevalence ratio (aPR) = 1.48, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.02-2.14) than infants without hydrocephalus. SB type was not associated with repair timing. Infants born in lower level nursery care hospitals with were less likely to have timely repairs (aPR = 0.71, 95 % CI 0.52-0.98) than those born in higher level nursery care hospitals.


Most infants with SB had surgical repair in the first 2 days of life. Lower level birth hospital nursery care was associated with later repairs. Prenatal diagnosis can facilitate planning for a birth hospital with higher level of nursery care, thus improving opportunities for timely repair.


Birth defects; Pediatric surgery; Spina bifida; Timeliness











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