A Prospective Trial of Elective Preterm Delivery for Fetal Gastroschisis

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

To test the hypothesis that preterm delivery of fetal gastroschisis prevents serious gastrointestinal compromise, facilitates primary surgical closure, and improves surgical outcome, we enrolled 16 women in a management plan. This included high-resolution ultrasound, weekly re-evaluation of the fetal gut (≥ 26 weeks), corticosteroids, and delivery if evidence of bowel compromise was present > 30 weeks. These fetuses were compared with 16 consecutive patients treated prior to establishment of this plan. Comparison of prospective trial patients with controls revealed significant differences in age at delivery (34.2 versus 37.7 weeks), serious bowel compromise (0 versus 70%), use of a surgically constructed silo (0 versus 77%), wound complications (0 versus 23%), duration of total parenteral nutrition (18.7 versus 34.7 days), time to full enteral feeding (19.1 versus 35.1 days), and hospital discharge (22.7 versus 37.7 days). Elective preterm delivery using specific ultrasound criteria resulted in improved surgical outcome without significant morbidity secondary to prematurity.

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