Background: The delayed onset of intestinal function in children with gastroschisis may be because of the injurious effects of amniotic fluid on the exposed bowel. This has led to consideration of early delivery to minimize intestinal damage and improve outcome, although this has not been carefully evaluated. The authors hypothesized that timing of delivery influences outcome in children with gastroschisis, and sought to evaluate the relative impact of factors that predict outcome in this disease. Methods: All consecutive patients with gastroschisis (1992-2002) were divided into those delivered before ("early") or after ("late") 36 weeks. Bowel peel was described as "thin" or "thick," based on operative reports. Individual measures were analyzed by univariate analyses (χ2/ Student's t test), and logistic regression was used to identify significant factors for the length of stay (LOS) longer than the population average of 55 days. Results: In 75 patients, 53.4% were "early" and 46.6% were "late." Groups were similar with respect to maternal age, birth weight, delivery mode, sex, and associated anomalies. Thickness of bowel peel was not affected by delivery time, yet "early" patients had significantly longer LOS and time to enteral feeds. Significant predictors of LOS more than 55 days included gestational age of 36 weeks or younger, time to enteral feeds of more than 26 days, and associated anomalies. Nonsignificant predictors included size of the defect, thickness of bowel peel, and need for silo. Conclusions: Delivery before 36 weeks is associated with longer hospitalization and increased tune to attainment of full feeds compared with later delivery. Fetal well-being should thus be the primary determinant of delivery for gastroschisis, as opposed to considerations regarding possible injurious effects to the bowel of prolonged gestation.
- Antenatal ultrasound
- Short bowel syndrome
- Total parenteral nutrition
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health