Definition of Gastroschisis
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, usually on the right side of the umbilical cord. The child’s intestines usually stick out (protrude) through the hole.
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.
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.
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.
Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 11/2/2009