A highly specific coding system for structural chromosomal alterations

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The Spanish Collaborative Study of Congenital Malformations (ECEMC, from the name in Spanish) has developed a very simple and highly specific coding system for structural chromosomal alterations. Such a coding system would be of value at present due to the dramatic increase in the diagnosis of submicroscopic chromosomal deletions and duplications through molecular techniques. In summary, our new coding system allows the characterization of: (a) the type of structural anomaly; (b) the chromosome affected; (c) if the alteration affects the short or/and the long arm, and (d) if it is a non-pure dicentric, a non-pure isochromosome, or if it affects several chromosomes. We show the distribution of 276 newborn patients with these types of chromosomal alterations using their corresponding codes according to our system. We consider that our approach may be useful not only for other registries, but also for laboratories performing these studies to store their results on case series. Therefore, the aim of this article is to describe this coding system and to offer the opportunity for this coding to be applied by others. Moreover, as this is a SYSTEM, rather than a fixed code, it can be implemented with the necessary modifications to include the specific objectives of each program. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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