Sonographic markers associated with adverse neonatal outcomes among fetuses with gastroschisis: an 11-year, single-center review

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Feb;214(2):275.e1-275.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2015.09.081. Epub 2015 Oct 8.


Background: Gastroschisis complicates 1 in 2000 births and is readily identifiable during prenatal ultrasound scans. Outcomes in fetuses that are affected by gastroschisis vary widely from stillbirth or neonatal death to uncomplicated surgical correction, which makes prenatal counseling challenging.

Objective: The goal of our study was to identify sonographic markers that are associated with perinatal death and morbidity that include significant bowel injury, necrotizing enterocolitis, and the need for bowel resection in fetuses with gastroschisis.

Study design: We identified a cohort of fetuses that were diagnosed with gastroschisis from 2003-2014. Sonographic markers that were reviewed included growth restriction, abdominal circumference, oligohydramnios, bowel dilation, and gastric bubble characteristics. We evaluated these markers both at diagnosis and near delivery. Four adverse perinatal outcomes were assessed: perinatal death, necrotizing enterocolitis, need for bowel resection, and a composite of significant bowel injury, which included a diagnosis of bowel atresia or necrosis at the time of surgical exploration. Logistic regression was performed to calculate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for each marker and outcome.

Results: One hundred seventy-seven patients were identified, and 154 of these patients met inclusion criteria after exclusions for delivery <24 weeks gestation, other associated anomalies, lethal karyotype, or lost to follow-up evaluation. Markers at the time of diagnosis (median gestational age, 21 weeks [25th,75th interquartile range, 19, 24 weeks]) that were associated with perinatal death were abdominal circumference <5th percentile (odds ratio, 5.56; 95% confidence interval, 1.25-24.76), abnormal gastric bubble (odds ratio, 11.20; 95% confidence interval, 2.15-58.33), and abnormal stomach location (odds ratio, 17.1; 95% confidence interval, 2.99-97.85). An abnormal stomach location (odds ratio, 5.53; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-29.72) before delivery was associated with perinatal death. Gastric dilation before delivery (odds ratio, 4.36; 95% confidence interval, 1.10-17.34)] was associated with the need for bowel resection.

Conclusion: Early sonographic markers of increased perinatal mortality rates include abdominal circumference <5th percentile and an abnormal gastric bubble.

Keywords: bowel dilation; diagnosis; dilated stomach; gastric bubble; gastroschisis; prenatal; ultrasound scan.

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / diagnostic imaging*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / diagnostic imaging*
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / epidemiology
  • Gastroschisis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Gastroschisis / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intestinal Atresia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Intestinal Atresia / epidemiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Oligohydramnios / diagnostic imaging*
  • Oligohydramnios / epidemiology
  • Organ Size
  • Perinatal Death*
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Stillbirth / epidemiology*
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal
  • Young Adult