Survival for infants with gastroschisis in developed countries has improved dramatically in recent decades with reported mortality rates of 4–7%. Conversely, mortality rates for gastroschisis in sub-Saharan Africa remain as great as 60% in contemporary series. This study describes the burden of gastroschisis at the major pediatric hospital in Zimbabwe with the goal of identifying modifiable factors influencing gastroschisis-related infant mortality.Methods.
We performed a retrospective cohort study of all cases of gastroschisis admitted to Harare Children's Hospital in 2013. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to describe infant, maternal, and geographic factors influencing survival.Results.
A total of 5,585 neonatal unit admissions were identified including 95 (1.7%) infants born with gastroschisis. Gastroschisis-related mortality was 84% (n = 80). Of infants with gastroschisis, 96% (n = 91) were born outside Harare Hospital, 82% (n = 78) were born outside Harare Province, and 23% (n = 25) were home births. The unadjusted odds of survival for these neonates with gastroschisis were decreased for low birth weight infants (<2,500 grams; odds ratio [OR], 0.15; 95% CI, 0.05–0.51), preterm births (<37 weeks gestational age; OR, 0.06; 95% CI, 0.01–0.50), and for those born to teenage mothers (<20 years of age; OR, 0.05; 95% CI, 0.01–0.46). There was also a trend toward decreased odds of survival for home births (OR, 0.16; 95% CI, 0.02–1.34) and for those born outside Harare Province (OR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.10–1.22).Conclusion.
Gastroschisis-related infant mortality in Zimbabwe is associated with well-known risk factors, including low birth weight, prematurity, and teenage mothers. However, modifiable factors identified in this study signify potential opportunities for developing innovative approaches to perinatal care in such a resource-constrained environment.