Gastroschisis is a birth defect in which an infant's intestines stick out of the body through a defect on one side of the umbilical cord.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Gastroschisis is a type of hernia. Hernia means "rupture.” Babies with this condition have a hole in the abdominal wall. The child's intestines usually stick out (protrude) through the hole.
The condition looks similar to an
Other related birth defects are rare in patients with gastroschisis.
- Lump in the abdomen
- Intestine sticks through the abdominal wall near the umbilical cord
Signs and tests
Physical examination of the infant is enough for the health care provider to diagnose gastroschisis. The baby will have problems with movement and absorption in the gut, because the unprotected intestine is exposed to irritating amniotic fluid.
The mother may have shown signs of too much amniotic fluid (
If gastroschisis is found before birth, the mother will need special monitoring to make sure her unborn baby remains healthy. Plans should be made for careful delivery and immediate management of the problem after birth.
Treatment for gastroschisis is
Other treatments for the baby include nutrients by IV and antibiotics to prevent infection. The baby's temperature must be carefully controlled, because the exposed intestine allows a lot of body heat to escape.
The child has a good chance of recovering if the abdominal cavity is large enough. A very small abdominal cavity may result in complications that require additional surgery.
The misplaced abdominal contents can make it difficult for the baby to expand the lungs, leading to breathing problems.
Bowel death is another complication.
Calling your health care provider
This condition is apparent at birth and will be detected in the hospital at delivery. It may also be detected on routine
Ledbetter DJ. Gastroschisis and omphalocele. Surg Clin N Am. 2006;86:249-260.