Spina Bifida Cystica; features and early postoperative outcomes an experience in Kampala

Byabato S (MBChB, M.Med), Kiryabwire J (MBChB, M.Med, FCS), *Galukande M (MBChB, M.Med, MSc, FCS) Department of Surgery, College of Health Science, Makerere University *Correspondence author: Galukande Moses, Department of Surgery,College of Health Science, Makerere University,Kampala, Uganda. Email: mosesg@img.co.ug


Introduction: Spina Bifida is one of the most serious developmental disability of the infant. The prevalence of Spina Bifida varies across time, region, race and ethnicity. Worldwide, it accounts for as many as 4.7 in 10,000 live births. Although Spina bifida in its entirely is commonly seen in neurosurgical practice there is sparse literature on this disabling congenital anomaly in the Ugandan context. This study therefore aimed at describing the clinical features and early post operative outcomes.


Methods: A prospective descriptive study recruited children with Spina Bifida Cystica admitted to Neurosurgical ward over a period of 11 months from May 2010 to March 2011, at Uganda’s National Referral Hospital. Clinical presentations of these patients were obtained by performing a general and neurological examination and using a standardized questionnaire. The patients were followed up for two weeks to establish early outcomes.


Result: A total of 51 patients with Spina Bifida Cystica were studied, representing 3.9% of all patients admitted on the unit that period. Out of those 54.9% were males and 45.1% were females. The mean age of their mothers was 23.8 years and the second birth rank was the mostly affected. Family history of Spina Bifida was present in 7.8%. Nearly all patients (98%) had myelomeningocele with a most common site being lumbosacral (47.1%). Hydrocephalus was noted in 72.5% of patients before surgery and talipes equinovarus was the other most associated congenital anomaly.


Forty three patients were operated on. The rest 8 patients died before surgery. The mean preoperative hospital stay was 17.6 days.

Conclusion: Patients had long pre operative lapse before the definitive management was offered and all the deaths occurred during this period. Exploration of factors responsible for this delay may enhance opportuni-ties for timely intervention.


Key words: Spina Bifida Cystica, surgery, early outcomes


The Annals of African Surgery is the official publication of the Surgical Society of Kenya.


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