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Rising Birth Prevalence of Gastroschisis


OBJECTIVE: Gastroschisis is a congenital anomaly that has been reported to be increasing in frequency. The objective of this study was to determine the birth prevalence of gastroschisis using two large databases.

STUDY DESIGN: We reviewed data from a statewide database and a national database from a neonatal health care provider, abstracting cases of gastroschisis.

RESULTS: In North Carolina, the birth prevalence of gastroschisis increased from 1.96 per 10,000 births in 1997 to 4.49 per 10,000 births in 2000 (p=0.0007). The overall increase was almost entirely because of the increase in infants born to mothers less than 20 years old. Among infants receiving care from the national neonatal provider, the prevalence of gastroschisis increased from 2.9 per 1000 patients in 1997 to five per 1000 patients in 2001 (p=0.044).

CONCLUSION: The birth prevalence of gastroschisis is increasing in North Carolina, and this trend may be occurring nationally. The rapid change in the birth prevalence in the subset of population most at risk for gastroschisis implicates environmental or pharmacologic teratogens rather than changing population characteristics as a causal factor in the development of gastroschisis.

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Laughon, M., Meyer, R., Bose, C. et al. Rising Birth Prevalence of Gastroschisis. J Perinatol 23, 291–293 (2003).

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