Get access

Antenatal management and outcomes of gastroschisis in the UK


  • Funding sources: This paper reports on an independent study which is part-funded by the Policy Research Programme in the Department of Health. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Department. Funding for the study was also provided by the charity BDF Newlife and the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons.
  • Conflicts of interest: None to declare

Marian Knight. E-mail:



The birth prevalence of gastroschisis is increasing worldwide, yet little evidence exists concerning the optimal monitoring strategies after diagnosis. The aim of this study was to describe the UK prevalence, antenatal management and outcomes of affected pregnancies.


Cases were identified throughout the UK between October 2006 and September 2007, using three different sources.


The overall birth prevalence of gastroschisis was 4.2 cases per 10 000 total births (95%CI 3.6–4.8). Infants were variably monitored with growth scans (90%), umbilical artery Doppler ultrasound (85%), cardiotocography (65%) and biophysical profile (27%). Bowel measurements were undertaken for only 113 infants (52%). Eighty-nine women (43%) were induced and 63 (31%) laboured spontaneously. Eleven women (5%) had an elective caesarean delivery where the sole indication was fetal gastroschisis.


The variability in management and paucity of evidence on antenatal monitoring approaches suggests there may be a place for randomised trials of fetal surveillance strategies in order to develop the evidence to improve outcomes for the at-risk fetus with gastroschisis. This study suggests that case ascertainment by regional congenital anomaly registers is high; extension of the coverage of these registers to the entire cohort of UK births would facilitate ongoing surveillance and research. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.