Background: The incidence of gastroschisis has increased in the past decade. A differing clinical course between "complex" (those with atresias, perforation, or stenosis) and "simple" cases has prompted a review of risk assessment factors.
Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted of 103 infants with gastroschisis over 5 years (1992 to 1997).
Results: Of 103 infants, 52 were girls and 51 were boys. Seventy-one infants (69%) had a simple defect, and 32 (31%) were complex. The simple group had an average estimated gestational age of 37.5 weeks (range, 26 to 40), and a birth weight of 3.0 kg (range, 1.7 to 3.8). A total of 71% underwent primary repair, whereas 29% required a silo. Mechanical ventilation averaged 6.8 days (range, 1 to 19). Enteral feedings were initiated at 15 days (range, 3 to 27) with full enteral intake achieved by 22.4 days (range, 5 to 40). Three infants required home parenteral nutrition. The average length of stay (LOS) was 26.4 days (range, 10 to 57). Complications occurred in 26 infants (36%), including intravenous catheter sepsis (n = 15), pneumatosis (n = 2), pneumonia (n = 1), bowel obstruction (n = 7), wound infection (n = 5), and SVC thrombosis (n = 1). Survival rate was 100%. Thirty-two infants had complex defects; 27 patients had atresias, stenosis, or perforations; and 3 had volvulus. The average estimated gestational age was 34 weeks (range, 26 to 38), and birth weight was 2.0 kg (range, 0.9 to 4.0). Primary repair was performed in 65% and silo placement in 35%. Mechanical ventilation was required for 22.3 days (range, 2 to 14). Enteral feedings were initiated at 22.5 days (range, 6 to 56) with full feedings achieved at 50 days (range, 21 to 113). Fourteen infants required home total parenteral nutrition (TPN). The LOS was 85.4 days (range, 24 to 270). A total of 47 complications occurred in the complex group including catheter sepsis (n = 15), short bowel syndrome (n = 7), pneumatosis (n = 3), bowel obstruction (n = 4), pneumonia (n = 2), superior vena cava thrombosis (n = 1), enterocutaneous fistula (n = 1), and 9 deaths (28% mortality rate).
Conclusions: These data indicate gastroschisis can be divided into low-risk (simple) and high-risk (complex) categories. These 2 groups have significant differences in clinical behavior, postsurgical complications, LOS, and mortality rate (0 v 28%). Although the overall survival rate was 91% (94 of 103), parents, referring physicians, and insurers must be made aware of the impact of risk categorization on the estimated cost, LOS, and outcomes.