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Original Report


Higher Education | Medicine and Health Sciences | Pediatrics | Surgery



Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a known complication of gastroschisis with an incidence above the expected rate in the neonatal population. While many physicians today are aware of this association, the last publication to explore this association in detail and identify possible risk factors of NEC in gastroschisis patients was published over twenty years ago. From our large database of patients with gastroschisis managed by a single group of pediatric surgeons, we reviewed our experience and the recent literature to update what is known about gastroschisis and NEC.


From 2001 to 2017, a gastroschisis registry was maintained. Data from 218 gastroschisis patients were reviewed. Patient demographics and hospital course were reviewed. Patients with confirmed NEC were compared to those without NEC.


Two hundred eighteen patients were born with gastroschisis during the time frame of this study. We observed a 5% rate (11 of 218) of NEC. Five patients (45%) developed recurring NEC and 4 patients (36%) were readmitted for NEC development following initial discharge. Variables associated with NEC included low gestational age (P=0.016) and low birth weight (P=0.003). Patients born prior to 37 weeks gestation had a 4.8 times greater risk of developing NEC than those born at term. Rates of IUGR were not statistically different between NEC and non-NEC patients. The method of delivery (cesarean vs vaginal), use of a silo, and form of nutrition were not significantly associated with NEC development.


The overall incidence of NEC has decreased compared to earlier reports. NEC does complicate the hospital course for patients, significantly increasing duration of in-hospital treatment. NEC in gastroschisis differs in comparison to traditional NEC, presenting later in life. Risk factors identified include low gestational age and low birth weight. Avoiding elective preterm deliveries may decrease the rate of NEC in gastroschisis.





Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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