Management of gastroschisis

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The diagnosis and treatment of gastroschisis spans the perinatal disciplines of maternal fetal medicine, neonatology, and pediatric surgery. Since gastroschisis is one of the commonest and costliest structural birth defects treated in neonatal ICUs, a comprehensive review of its epidemiology, prenatal diagnosis, postnatal treatment, and short and long-term outcomes is both timely and relevant.

Recent findings

The incidence of gastroschisis has increased dramatically over the past 20 years, leading to a renewed interest in causation. The widespread availability of maternal screening and ultrasound results in very high rates of prenatal diagnosis, which enables evaluation of the optimal timing and mode of delivery. The preferred method of surgical closure continues to be an issue of debate among pediatric surgeons, whereas postsurgical treatment seeks to expedite the initiation and progression of enteral feeding and minimize complications. A small subset of babies with complex gastroschisis leading to intestinal failure benefit from the knowledge and expertise of dedicated interdisciplinary teams, which seek to bring novel therapies and improved clinical outcomes.

Summary

The opportunities to increase the knowledge of causation, and identify best practices leading to improved outcomes, drive the ongoing need for collaborative clinical research in gastroschisis.

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