Ultrasound markers for prediction of complex gastroschisis and adverse outcome: longitudinal prospective nationwide cohort study

FLAMINGO Study Working Group, Christine Willekes

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Objectives To identify antenatal ultrasound markers that can differentiate between simple and complex gastroschisis and assess their predictive value.

Methods This was a prospective nationwide study of pregnancies with isolated fetal gastroschisis that underwent serial longitudinal ultrasound examination at regular specified intervals between 20 and 37weeks' gestation. The primary outcome was simple or complex (i.e. involving bowel atresia, volvulus, perforation or necrosis) gastroschisis at birth. Fetal biometry (abdominal circumference and estimated fetal weight), the occurrence of polyhydramnios, intra- and extra-abdominal bowel diameters and the pulsatility index (PI) of the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) were assessed. Linear mixed modeling was used to compare the individual trajectories of cases with simple and those with complex gastroschisis, and logistic regression analysis was used to estimate the strength of association between the ultrasound parameters and outcome.

Results Of 104 pregnancies with isolated fetal gastroschisis included, four ended in intrauterine death. Eighty-one (81%) liveborn infants with simple and 19 (19%) with complex gastroschisis were included in the analysis. We found no relationship between fetal biometric variables and complex gastroschisis. The SMA-PI was significantly lower in fetuses with gastroschisis than in healthy controls, but did not differentiate between simple and complex gastroschisis. Both intra- and extra-abdominal bowel diameters were larger in cases with complex, compared to those with simple, gastroschisis (P< 0.001 and P= 97.7th percentile on at least three occasions, not necessarily on successive examinations, was associated with an increased risk of the fetus having complex gastroschisis (relative risk, 1.56 (95% CI, 1.02-2.10); P=0.006; positive predictive value, 50.0%; negative predictive value, 81.4%).

Conclusions This large prospective longitudinal study found that intra-abdominal bowel dilatation when present repeatedly during fetal development can differentiate between simple and complex gastroschisis; however, the positive predictive value is low, and therefore the clinical usefulness of this marker is limited. (c) 2019 The Authors. Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)776-785
Number of pages10
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • bowel
  • gastroschisis
  • intra-abdominal bowel diameter
  • mesenteric artery
  • ultrasound

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