A retrospective chart review of cases with congenital vertebral malformations (CVM) and controls with normal spine morphology.
To determine the relative contribution of maternal environmental factors (MEF) during pregnancy including maternal insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, valproic acid, alcohol, smoking, hyperthermia, twin gestation, assisted reproductive technology, in-vitro fertilization and maternal clomiphene usage to CVM development.
Summary of Background Data
Congenital vertebral malformations (CVM) represent defects in formation and segmentation of somites occurring with an estimated incidence of between 0.13–0.50 per 1000 live births. CVM may be associated with congenital scoliosis, Klippel-Feil syndrome, hemifacial microsomia and VACTERL syndromes, and represent significant morbidity due to pain and cosmetic disfigurement.
A multicenter retrospective chart review of 229 cases with CVM and 267 controls with normal spine morphology between the ages of 1–50 years was performed in order to obtain the odds ratio (OR) of MEF related to CVM among cases vs. controls. CVM due to an underlying syndrome associated with a known gene mutation or chromosome etiology were excluded. An imputation based analysis was performed in which subjects with no documentation of MEF history were treated as no maternal exposure.” Univariate and multivariate analysis was conducted to calculate the OR.
Of the 229 total cases, 104 cases had single or multiple CVM without additional congenital malformations (CM) (Group 1) and 125 cases had single or multiple CVM and additional CM (Group 2). Nineteen percent of total cases had an identified MEF. The OR (95% CI, P-value) for MEF history for Group 1 was 6.0 (2.4–15.1, P<0.001) in the univariate analysis. The OR for MEF history in Group 2 was 9.1 (95%CI, P-value) (3.8–21.6, P<0.001) in the univariate analysis. The results were confirmed in the multivariate analysis, after adjusting for age, gender, and institution.
These results support a hypothesis for an association between the above MEF during pregnancy and CVM and have implications for development of prevention strategies. Further prospective studies are needed to quantify association between CVM and specific MEF.