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Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2012 Jun;94(6):477-80. doi: 10.1002/bdra.23016. Epub 2012 Apr 18.

Hirschsprung's disease in the North of England: prevalence, associated anomalies, and survival.

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Institute of Health & Society, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.



Hirschsprung's disease is the commonest congenital gut motility disorder, characterized by the absence of the enteric ganglion cells along the distal gut, which causes intestinal obstruction. Few publications report its epidemiology and temporal trends.


Cases of Hirschsprung's disease delivered during 1990 to 2008 in the North of England reported to the Northern Congenital Abnormality Survey (NorCAS) formed this population-based case series.


Of 612,916 live births, 105 cases were reported to NorCAS. After excluding one diabetic and four multiple pregnancies, the live birth prevalence was 1.63 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.33-1.98) per 10,000 live births. There was a significant temporal increase in the prevalence of Hirschsprung's disease (p = 0.020), from 1.26 (95% CI, 0.80-1.89) in 1990 to 1994 to 2.29 (95% CI, 1.53-3.29) in 2005 to 2008. The ratio of male to female cases was 2:1. Ten (10.0%) cases occurred with Down syndrome, one with Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome, and six (6.0%) with associated structural anomalies. The remaining 83 (83.0%) cases were isolated. All cases were live born, but nine (9.0%) died in the first year of life. Hirschsprung's disease was not prenatally suspected in any case. Half the cases were diagnosed within 5 days postpartum, but time of diagnosis ranged from birth to 5 years of age.


This study confirmed a male predominance and an association with Down syndrome, but also found a temporal increase in Hirschsprung's disease prevalence. No cases were suspected prenatally, but half were diagnosed within 5 days of life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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