July 22, 1983

Lethal Congenital Anomalies as a Cause of Birth-Weight—Specific Neonatal Mortality

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Drs Goldenberg and Hale and Ms Humphrey) and the School of Public Health (Dr Hale and Mr Wayne), the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

JAMA. 1983;250(4):513-515. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340040053032

The percentage of neonatal mortality caused by lethal congenital anomalies and the distribution of specific anomalies in various birth-weight groups are presented. State vital statistics data and autopsy-confirmed data from a single hospital are compared. Of neonates who died, less than 5% who were born weighing between 500 and 999 g died of a congenital anomaly, and nearly 45% who were born weighing more than 2,500 g died of a congenital anomaly. Most deaths associated with congenital anomalies in infants born weighing more than 2,500 g are cardiac in origin. Twenty-three percent of all neonatal deaths in Alabama are attributed to a lethal congenital anomaly. Use of these data to define limits to future improvements in neonatal mortality by standard medical care is discussed.

(JAMA 1983;250:513-515)