Management of the Infant With Gastroschisis: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature

Tracey Williams, MSN, RN, NNP, Rachel Butler, MSN, RN, NNP, Tara Sundem, MSN, RN, NNP


NAINR. 2003;3(2) 

In This Article


During the last two decades, the overall incidence of gastroschisis is on the rise.[10] Although the exact reason is unknown, the rise may be secondary to improved case ascertainment, the increased accuracy of diagnosing gastroschisis from other abdominal wall defects,[11] and environmental risk factors.[10] The incidence of gastroschisis ranges from 1.4 to 2.5 per 10,000 live births and has no gender predilection.[7,9,10,12] Factors associated with an increased risk for gastroschisis include maternal age, parity, and maternal use of selected drugs.

The incidence of gastroschisis is higher in young mothers and declines markedly with increasing maternal age.[2,13] Women less than 20 years of age are 11 times more likely to have an affected infant.[5] Low parity has also been shown to increase the risk for gastroschisis.[2] A study conducted by Sharp et al in 2000 found that 66% of mothers who delivered an infant with gastroschisis were in their first pregnancy, 26.4% were in their second, and 3.8% were in their third or greater pregnancy.[14] Drugs taken during the first trimester including nicotine, pseudo-ephedrine alone or in combination with acetaminophen, phenylpropanolamine, cocaine, aspirin, and acetaminophen are associated with an increased incidence of gastroschisis.[5,15,16,17]


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