Public Health Resources


Date of this Version



Birth Defects Research Part A: Clinical and Molecular Teratology Volume 103, Issue 11, November 2015, Pages: 972–993


U.S. Government Work


Major structural birth defects collectively affect 3 to 5% of births in the United States and contribute substantially to mortality and morbidity (CDC, 2008; TDSHS, 2015). Since 2000, the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN) has annually published state-specific data for selected major birth defects affecting a range of organ systems, including central nervous, eye, ear, cardiovascular, orofacial, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, and musculoskeletal, as well as chromosomal and other conditions, such as amniotic bands. While the NBPDN list of birth defects had remained relatively unchanged for two decades, it was recently revised and released with the 2014 NBDPN Annual Report (Mai et al., 2014). Several factors necessitated an in-depth examination of the list of conditions: (1) development of national data quality standards for birth defects surveillance in the United States; (2) transition of the diagnostic coding system from the International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) to ICD-10-CM; and (3) inclusion of newborn screening for critical congenital heart defects (CCHD), with 12 primary and secondary CCHD targets, on the national Recommended Uniform Screening Panel. The revision process included a review of each condition in relation to its public health importance, state of current knowledge, and clinical factors, such as accuracy of diagnosis within a child’s first year of life. Table 1 presents the revised list of birth defects and their diagnostic codes [ICD-9-CM and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/British Pediatric Association Classification of Diseases (CDC/BPA)].

The data component of the 2015 NBDPN Annual Report comprises: (1) state-specific data from 41 population-based birth defects surveillance programs for the 47 major birth defects listed in Table 1; (2) a directory of state birth defects surveillance programs, which details data collection, surveillance methodology, and birth defects contacts; and (3) a descriptive data brief further highlighting the variability in prevalence estimates across population-based birth defects programs.