The influence of bowel atresia in gastroschisis on fetal growth, cardiotocograph abnormalities and amniotic fluid staining


Correspondence: Professor P. W. Soothill, Fetal Medicine Research Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St. Michael's Hospital, Southwell Street, Bristol BS2 8EG, UK.


Objectives To investigate the relationship between intestinal atresia and fetal growth, intrapartum cardiotocograph abnormalities and staining of the amniotic fluid in gastroschisis pregnancies.

Design Observational study of 115 gastroschisis pregnancies conceived between 1980 and 1996.

Setting South West Region of England.

Main outcome measures Birthweight, intrapartum cardiotocograph abnormality, staining of amniotic fluid and Apgar score.

Results There was no statistically significant difference between the Apgar scores or the frequency of amniotic fluid staining of gastroschisis cases with or without atresia. Patent bowel gastroschisis was associated significantly with more cardiotocograph abnormalities (61%vs 26%, P= 0.026) and reduced growth (P= 0.02), when compared with cases with intestinal atresia.

Conclusions Bile vomiting may be an important cause of amniotic fluid staining. Bowel atresia protects against the increased incidence of cardiotocograph and growth abnormality found in cases of gastroschisis which may reflect their aetiology.