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Pediatr Surg Int. 2008 Feb;24(2):167-73. Epub 2007 Nov 6.

Gastroschisis and omphalocele: treatments and long-term outcomes.

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Department of Pediatric Surgery, Erlangen University Hospital, Erlangen, Germany.


Between February 1994 and April 2004, we treated 40 children with gastroschisis and 26 children with omphalocele. We recorded the course of pregnancy, pre- and post-natal complications, delivery, operation, post-operative therapy, and long-term outcomes. Additionally, we conducted follow-up examinations of 37 of these 66 children (56%). We analysed their abdominal musculature, development, cosmetic result and quality of life. The median duration of follow-up was 6.3 years (range 1-10). In 35/40 children (88%) with gastroschisis and in 18/26 children (69%) with omphalocele, there had been prenatal diagnosis. The average maternal age of 23.9 years in the gastroschisis group was lower than in the omphalocele group (29.9 years). Delivery was by caesarean section in 93% of the gastroschisis group and 65% of the omphalocele group. Outcomes following vaginal delivery were no worse than those after caesarean section. Further, congenital abnormalities were shown in 28% of gastroschisis cases, and were limited to the gastrointestinal tract. Of the omphalocele cases 81% showed further abnormalities. Direct closure of the abdominal wall defect was possible in 31/40 (78%) of the gastroschisis cases and 15/26 (58%) of the omphalocele cases. Mortality in gastroschisis was nil; two children with omphalocele died (8%). Outcomes were better after primary closure than in stepwise reconstruction. Follow-up showed good results in all categories. Developmental delays were rapidly made up after treatment, and 75% of the children had no gastrointestinal problems, or suffered from these rarely. Almost all the children were of normal weight and height, and physical and intellectual development were delayed in only one third of the children. The surgical scar was rated as good or very good in about 80% of the cases. Except for those with severe defects, the children had good ratings for quality of life. Improvements in short-term results of gastroschisis and omphalocele treatment can be attributed to recent developments in prenatal diagnosis and the advancements of centralised perinatal care. Our long-term results clearly demonstrate that initial gastrointestinal problems and developmental delays were made up during the first two years of life. Prenatal counselling can now be more optimistic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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