February 1974

Treatment of Meningomyelocele in Indigent and Nonindigent Patients

Author Affiliations

From the departments of pediatrics (Drs. Haynes and Mintz) and neurosurgery (Dr. Cheek), Baylor College of Medicine, Ben Taub General Hospital, and Methodist Hospital, Houston. Dr. Haynes is now with Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC.

Am J Dis Child. 1974;127(2):182-186. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1974.02110210032004

The records for the years 1964 through 1971 of 38 indigent children with meningomyelocele treated at a municipal hospital and 52 nonindigent children with meningomyelocele treated at a private hospital were reviewed. In those cases not lost to follow-up, there was a 50% mortality in the indigent children compared with a 22% mortality in the nonindigent children. Forty-five percent of indigent patients who had shunt procedures became infected, in contrast to 15% of nonindigent children who had shunt procedures. Possible factors influencing success or failure of treatment are discussed, and methods to decrease morbidity and mortality in indigent patients with meningomyelocele are reviewed.