What We Treat

Gastroschisis and other abnormalities

Gastroschisis is a birth defect in which the abdomen does not close properly, allowing some of the infant's intestines to protrude outside the fetus, where they float in the amniotic fluid. Gastroschisis is similar to an omphalocele, except the baby's organs are exposed in the amniotic fluid rather than being contained in a membrane.

Gastroschisis can be diagnosed in an ultrasound in the second trimester of pregnancy. A routine blood test will show a high level of maternal alpha-fetoprotein (AFP). An ultrasound is needed to determine the exact defect, since an elevated AFP can be an indication of several different anomalies.

In almost all cases, gastroschisis can be successfully repaired with one or a series of surgeries. A prenatal diagnosis allows parents time to plan treatment with pediatric surgeons and other specialists. Monitoring of the baby's development during the remainder of the pregnancy is important to the baby's recovery from gastroschisis. As a comprehensive pediatric hospital, Children's has the expert medical staff and support staff to care for babies with gastroschisis before and after their birth to provide the best possible outcome.