Predictors of Survival: A Retrospective Review of Gastroschisis and Intestinal Atresia in Rwanda

J Surg Res. 2022 May:273:138-146. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2021.12.035. Epub 2022 Jan 24.


Introduction: Neonatal surgical diseases are prime examples of the global disparity in surgical access and outcomes, with survival for conditions like gastroschisis reaching above 95% in high-income settings but usually fatal in low-income settings. This study aims to examine outcomes and predictors of mortality in patients with two specific neonatal surgical conditions that often require early transfer and prolonged inpatient care (gastroschisis and intestinal atresia) at Rwanda's main pediatric referral hospital.

Methods: A single-institution retrospective chart review of neonates with gastroschisis and intestinal atresia was conducted between January 2016 and June 2019. Abstracted data included demographics, referral history, admission interventions, operative details, in-hospital complications, nutrition patterns, length of stay, and mortality. Daily logs were created to evaluate feeding status, infection status, and antibiotic usage. Descriptive and univariate analysis was conducted, with the primary outcome being survival to hospital discharge.

Results: A total of 112 patients met inclusion criteria (82% gastroschisis [n = 92] and 18% intestinal atresia [n = 20]). Median age at arrival was 0 d (GS) [IQR 0-1 d] and 8.5 d (IA) [IQR 4-10 d] (P < 0.0001). Survival to discharge was 22.8% (GS) (n = 21) and 60% (IA) (n = 12) with a mean length of stay of 28.3 d (GS) and 18.4 d (IA). The median number of days to initiation of oral feeds was 8.5 d [IQR 7-11] for gastroschisis survivors.

Conclusions: Neonatal surgical conditions that require early transfer and prolonged nutritional intervention are challenging in low-resource settings, but through treatment by a comprehensive pediatric surgical service, improving survival is possible.

Keywords: Gastroschisis; Global surgery; Intestinal atresia; Outcomes; Rwanda.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Gastroschisis* / complications
  • Gastroschisis* / surgery
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intestinal Atresia* / complications
  • Intestinal Atresia* / epidemiology
  • Intestinal Atresia* / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rwanda / epidemiology
  • Treatment Outcome