Mercy Hospital & Health Services Contact Us
MyChart
About Mercy
Join Our Team
set font size large set font size medium set font size small
email this page print this page
Health Illustrated Encyclopedia Banner
Health Illustrated Encyclopedia

Disclaimer:
Our Health Information Database is provided by A.D.A.M. the leading provider of electronic and printed information for professionals and consumers in healthcare and industry. It provides authoritative, reliable content written and reviewed by an editorial board who represent a variety of specialty areas. This board reviews and evaluates all healthcare information to ensure it is accurate, reliable, and can be used with complete confidence. And now you have access to the same authoritative, trusted clinical information relied upon by health professionals around the world.
Gastroschisis

Definition

Gastroschisis is a birth defect in which an infant's intestines stick out of the body through a defect on one side of the umbilical cord.

See also: Gastroschisis repair

Alternative Names

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Gastroschisis is a type of hernia. Hernia means "rupture.” Babies with this condition have a hole in the abdominal wall, usually on the right side of the umbilical cord. The child's intestines usually stick out (protrude) through the hole.

The condition looks similar to an omphalocele. An omphalocele, however, is a birth defect in which the infant's intestine or other abdominal organs stick out of the belly button area and are covered with a membrane.

Other related birth defects are rare in patients with gastroschisis.

Symptoms

  • Lump in the abdomen
  • Intestine sticks through the abdominal wall near the umbilical cord

Signs and tests

Physical examination of the infant is enough for the health care provider to diagnose gastroschisis. The baby will have problems with movement and absorption in the gut, because the unprotected intestine is exposed to irritating amniotic fluid.

The mother may have shown signs of too much amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios). A prenatal ultrasound often identifies the gastroschisis.

Treatment

If gastroschisis is found before birth, the mother will need special monitoring to make sure her unborn baby remains healthy. Plans should be made for careful delivery and immediate management of the problem after birth.

Treatment for gastroschisis is surgery to repair the defect. A surgeon will put the bowel back into the abdomen and close the defect, if possible. If the abdominal cavity is too small, a mesh sack is stitched around the borders of the defect and the edges of the defect are pulled up. Over time, the herniated intestine falls back into the abdominal cavity, and the defect can be closed.

Other treatments for the baby include nutrients by IV and antibiotics to prevent infection. The baby's temperature must be carefully controlled, because the exposed intestine allows a lot of body heat to escape.

Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

The child has a good chance of recovering if the abdominal cavity is large enough. A very small abdominal cavity may result in complications that require additional surgery.

Complications

The misplaced abdominal contents can make it difficult for the baby to expand the lungs, leading to breathing problems.

Bowel death is another complication.

Calling your health care provider

This condition is apparent at birth and will be detected in the hospital at delivery. It may also be detected on routine fetal ultrasound exams. If you have given birth at home and your baby appears to have this defect, call the local emergency number (such as 911) immediately.

Prevention

References

Ledbetter DJ. Gastroschisis and omphalocele. Surg Clin N Am. 2006;86:249-260.

View Spanish Version

Encyclopedia Home
Drug Note Home
Health Information Home

Images

Care Points
    Read More

    Review Date: 11/2/2009

    Review By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

    The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

    www.adam.com
    www.mercyweb.org
    follow us online
    facebook youtube


    Contact us
    Home  |  Sitemap

    Disclaimer & Terms of Use  |  Privacy Statement  |  Notice of Privacy Practices
    Copyright ©2013 Mercy. Last modified 2/16/2011