Get access

Perinatal demography of gastroschisis in North Queensland


Professor John S Whitehall, Foundation Chair of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith DC, NSW 1797, Australia. Fax: +612 9678 7160; email:


Aim:  To review the demography of gastroschisis in North Queensland.

Methods:  A retrospective chart review of live born cases of gastroschisis originating in North Queensland from 1988 to 2007.

Results:  Fifty-nine cases were identified, giving an overall rate of 3.2 per 10 000 live births. In mothers <20 years old compared with 20–24 and 25–29 it was 12.1, 6.3 and 1.7. Overall, the rate was higher in Indigenous mothers (6.6 vs. 2.6, OR 2.5; 95% CI 1.4–4.5, P= 0.0018). Overall, the rate increased significantly from 0.7 per 10 000 live births in the first 5 years of the study to 4.8 in the last (trend test P= 0.0015), but it increased particularly in mothers <20 years old, from 2.40 in the first 5 years to 19.3 in the last (trend test P= 0.0177). It also rose from 0 to 3.6 in those aged 25–29 (P= 0.0337) but remained stable in other age groups. There was no difference in the outcomes of babies born to Indigenous or non-Indigenous mothers, or in outcomes of babies delivered vaginally or by Caesarean section, or in outcomes of babies from any particular location in North Queensland. There was no significant difference in the average age of Indigenous and non-Indigenous mothers.

Conclusion:  Gastroschisis is increasing in North Queensland, especially in mothers <20. Overall, the rate in Indigenous mothers is two to three times higher.

Get access to the full text of this article