Applications of Spatial Analysis in Congenital Anomalies Registries

  • Amin Bateni Tabriz University Of Medical Science
  • Saeed Dastgiri Department Of Community Medicine, Tabriz Medical School
  • Mohammad Mosaferi Tabriz Health Services Management Research Centre, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences
  • Mahammad Heidarzadeh
Keywords: Spatial Analysis, Congenital Anomalies, Birth Defects


Background.  Despite the potential role of spatial analysis in the investigation of the etiology of birth defects, there are relatively few published data on this field. This aim of this article is to discuss the main applications of spatial analysis in the registries of congenital anomalies. Advantages and limitations of spatial analysis will also be discussed using the data from Tabriz Registry of Congenital Anomalies (TRoCA).


Methods/Design. Some softwares have been designed for spatial analysis. Each software has its specific definition for the points taken as "Place" in mapping the diseases distribution. Point, distribution, proportional and choropletic maps with relevant statistical tests are used for different types of spatial analysis.


Results. A total of 247 695 births with 4704 cases of congenital anomalies have been registered in TRoCA program between 2000 and 2011. Total prevalence of congenital anomalies was 1.9 per 100 births for this period of time.


Conclusion. Large international registries of congenital anomalies can perform multi-level area analysis (i.e., city based, in hospitals, regions, etc) while small registries will have to improve their quality of data and expand the area and population for which the data collected enabling them for more reliable spatial analysis. 

Author Biography

Amin Bateni, Tabriz University Of Medical Science

Department Of Community Medicine, Tabriz Medical School


Maffini G. Raster versus vector data encoding and handling: a commentary. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing.1987 Oct; 53(10):1397-1398.

Rogers MY. Getting started with geographic information systems (GIS): a local health department perspective. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.1999 Jul; 5(4): 22-32.

Waller LA, Gotway CA. Applied spatial statistics for public health data. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Ltd; 2004.

EUROCAT Statistical Monitoring Protocol. European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies. 2009. Available at: Accessed January 2013.

Besag J, Newell J. The detection of clusters in rare diseases. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A (Statistics in Society).1991; 143-155.

Goodchild MF. Spatial autocorrelation. Norwich: Geo Books; 1986.

Longly P, Batty M. Spatial analysis: modelling in a GIS environment. Canada: John Wiley & Sons Ltd;1996.

Anselin L. Local indicators of spatial association-LISA. Geographical Analysis. 1995 Apr; 27(2): 93-115.

Cuzick J, Edwards R. Spatial clustering for inhomogeneous populations. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series B (Methodological). 1990: 73-104.

Openshaw S, Charlton M, Wymer C, Craft A. A mark 1 geographical analysis machine for the automated analysis of point data sets. International Journal of Geographical Information System. 1987; 1(4): 335-358.

Turnbull BW, Iwano EJ, Burnett WS, Howe H, Clark LC. Monitoring for clusters of disease: application to leukemia incidence in upstate New York. American Journal of Epidemiology. 1990 Jul: 132(supp1), 136-143.

Kulldorff M, Nagarwalla N. Spatial disease clusters: detection and inference. Statistics in Medicine. 1995 Apr: 14(8), 799-810.

Patil GP, Taillie C. Upper level set scan statistic for detecting arbitrarily shaped hotspots. Environmental and Ecological Statistics. 2004 Jun: 11(2), 183-197.

Tabriz Registry of Congenital Anomalies (TRoCA). 2013. Available at: Accessed January 2013.

Siffel C, Strickland MJ, Gardner BR, Kirby RS, Correa A. Role of geographic information systems in birth defects surveillance and research. Birth Defects Research Part A: Clin Mol Teratol. 2006 Nov: 76(11), 825-833.

Wellesley D, Boyd P, Dolk H, Pattenden S. An aetiological classification of birth defects for epidemiological research. J Med Genet. 2005: 42(1), 54-57.

Short Communications