Objective: The aim of the study was to examine the short-term outcome of infants with gastroschisis by route of delivery, comparing vaginal delivery vs elective and emergency cesarean delivery (CD).
Methods: Six hundred thirty-one infants with gastroschisis (International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision: Q79.3) were admitted to the Australian and New Zealand Neonatal Network during 1997 to 2005. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression analysis was performed to adjust for case-mix and significant baseline characteristics.
Results: During the study period, 631 infants with gastroschisis were admitted to the collaborating centers. Of these, 343 (54.4%) infants were delivered vaginally, whereas 288 (45.6%) were delivered by cesarean birth. Of the latter, 148 (23.4%) were elective and 140 (22.2%) were emergency. There was an increasing trend of CD from 41.1% in 1997 to 69.0% in 2005. Forty-seven (7.4%) infants died; 30 (8.7%) in the vaginal, 9 (6.4%) in the emergency, and 8 (5.4%) in the elective CD group. There was no difference in rate of proven infection, duration of ventilation, or length of neonatal intensive care unit stay between the 3 groups. After controlling for prematurity, low birth weight, and outborn birth, the risk for neonatal demise was similar in both the vaginal and CD infants (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.486; 95% confidence interval, 0.814-2.713; P = .197). Stratifying the CD (emergency vs elective) gave similar results.
Conclusion: Infants with gastroschisis appear to be safely delivered vaginally.