Minimizing Variance in Gastroschisis Management Leads to Earlier Full Feeds in Delayed Closure

Elizabeth A. Gilliam, Kathryn Vu, Pavithra Rao, Sanjay Krishnaswami, Nicholas Hamilton, Kenneth Azarow, Cynthia Gingalewski, Mubeen Jafri, Andrew Zigman, Marilyn Butler, Elizabeth A. Fialkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Limited guidance exists regarding appropriate timing for feed initiation and advancement in gastroschisis. We hypothesized that implementation of a gastroschisis management protocol would allow for standardization of antibiotic and nutritional treatment for these patients. Methods: We conducted a retrospective comparison of patients with simple gastroschisis at two pediatric hospitals before and after initiation of our gastroschisis care protocol. Complicated gastroschisis and early mortality were excluded. The control group extended from January 2012 to January 2014 and the protocol group from July 2014 to July 2016. Variables of interest included time to feed initiation, time to goal feeds, length of stay, and National Surgical Quality Improvement Program–defined complications. We performed a subgroup analysis for primary versus delayed gastroschisis closure. Statistical analyses, including F-tests for variance, were conducted in Prism. Results: Forty-seven patients with simple gastroschisis were included (control = 22, protocol = 25). Protocol compliance was 76% with no increase in complication rates. There was no difference in length of stay or time from initiation to full feeds overall between the control and protocol groups. However, neonates who underwent delayed closure reached full feeds significantly earlier, averaging 9 d versus 15 d previously (P = 0.04). Conclusions: For infants undergoing delayed closure, the time to full feeds in this group now appears to match that of patients undergoing primary closure, indicating that delayed closure should not be a reason for slower advancement. Additional studies are needed to assess the impact of earlier full enteral nutrition on rare complications and rates of necrotizing enterocolitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-544
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Feeding protocol
  • Gastroschisis
  • Guidelines
  • Outcomes
  • Pathway
  • Silo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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