Gastroschisis: mortality risks with each additional week of expectant management

Teresa N. Sparks, Brian Shaffer, Jessica Page, Aaron B. Caughey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background Prior studies have evaluated the overall risk of stillbirth in pregnancies with fetal gastroschisis. However, the gestational age at which mortality is minimized, balancing the risk of stillbirth against neonatal mortality, remains unclear. Objective We sought to evaluate the gestational age at which prenatal and postnatal mortality risk is minimized for fetuses with gastroschisis. Study Design This was a retrospective cohort study of singleton pregnancies delivered between 24 0/7 and 39 6/7 weeks, using 2005 through 2006 US national linked birth and death certificate data. Among pregnancies with fetal gastroschisis, prospective risk of stillbirth and risk of infant death were determined for each gestational age week. Risk of infant death with delivery was further compared to composite fetal/infant mortality risk with expectant management for 1 additional week. Results Among 2,119,049 pregnancies, 860 cases (0.04%) of gastroschisis were identified. The overall stillbirth rate among gastroschisis cases was 4.8%, and infant death occurred in 8.3%. Prospective risk of stillbirth became more consistently elevated beginning at 35 weeks, rising to 13.9 per 1000 pregnancies (95% confidence interval, 10.8–17.1) at 39 weeks. Risk of infant death concurrently nadired in the third trimester, ranging between 62.4-66.8 per 1000 live births between 32-39 weeks. Comparing mortality with expectant management vs delivery, relative risk was significantly greater with expectant management between 37-39 weeks, reaching 1.90 (95% confidence interval, 1.73–2.08) at 39 weeks with a number needed to deliver of 17.49 (95% confidence interval, 15.34–20.32) to avoid 1 excess death. Conclusion Risk of prenatal and postnatal mortality for fetuses with gastroschisis may be minimized with delivery as early as 37 weeks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66.e1-66.e7
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • gastroschisis
  • intrauterine fetal demise
  • neonatal death
  • stillbirth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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