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Ann Trop Paediatr. 1999 Sep;19(3):245-52.

Pre-school follow-up of a cohort of children with myelomeningocele in Cape Town, South Africa.

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  • 1Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Cape Town, South Africa.


A cohort of South African children with myelomeningocele was followed for 5 years. Fifty-three were from metropolitan Cape Town and 65 from rural areas including the tribal region of Transkei. The mean general developmental quotient (GQ) at 5 years of age was lower than that previously reported. Black and coloured children had lower GQs than white children, but there were no significant differences between those from the urban and the rural areas. Early closure of the lesion and delivery by caesarean section were associated with higher levels of general developmental functioning. Central nervous system infections and the placement of more than one shunt for hydrocephalus resulted in lower GQs. Lesions above L2 were associated with non-ambulation. Ambulation was more likely in children in Cape Town than in rural children. Urinary incontinence occurred more frequently in rural children and among those in lower socio-economic circumstances.

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