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Introduction: VACTERL association is a rare congenital defect. It is a constellation of the involvement of six systems which comprise of vertebral defects, anal atresia, cardiac defects, trachea-oesophageal fistula, renal anomalies and limb abnormalities. At least three systems should be involved before VACTERL is suspected and in many cases, it is difficult to differentiate it from other multiple congenital anomalies.
Case Report: We present a day old preterm neonate who presented with respiratory distress and abdominal distension at birth. Late pregnancy ultrasound done at 34 weeks gestation showed a singleton fetus with gross ascites, dilated urinary bladder and bilateral calyceal dilatation. On examination, he had hyper-plantar flexion of the left ankle joint, ascites and a loud systolic murmur. Abdominal scan showed bilateral renal stones with medullary sponge kidneys, gaseous distension of the bowels and massive ascites. Transthoracic echocardiography showed a 10 mm ostium secundum atrial septal defect, 6 mm perimembranous ventricular septal defect and a 3 mm patent ductus arteriosus. Micturating cystourography showed a dilated posterior urethra with an appearance of a ring lucent filling defect at the membranous urethra and an irregular and beading distal urethra which was suggestive of posterior urethral valves (diaphragmatic type).
Conclusion: VACTERL association occurs sporadically in most cases and presentation is varied depending on the degree of systemic affectation. Our patient presented with a constellation of congenital defects which could all fit into the criteria for VACTERL association, however because of the lack of genetic testing, it is difficult to determine if this is just a chance occurrence of multiple congenital anomalies.
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