Open Access Research article

Growth restriction in gastroschisis: quantification of its severity and exploration of a placental cause

Nathaniel R Payne12*, Susan C Simonton3, Sam Olsen4, Mark A Arnesen5 and Kathleen M Pfleghaar6

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Epidemiology, Michigan State University, B601 West Fee Hall, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA

2 Department of Quality and Safety, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, 2525 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404, USA

3 Department of Pathology, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, 2525 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404, USA

4 Department of Neonatology, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, 2525 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404, USA

5 Department of Pathology, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis, MN 55407, USA

6 Department of Perinatology, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis, MN 55407, USA

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BMC Pediatrics 2011, 11:90  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-90

Published: 17 October 2011

Abstract

Background

Gastroschisis patients are commonly small for gestational age (SGA, birth weight [BW] < 10th centile). However, the extent, symmetry and causes of that growth restriction remain controversial.

Methods

We compared BW, crown-heel length (LT), occipitofrontal circumference (OFC) and ponderal index (PI) in 179 gastroschisis cases and 895 matched controls by univariate and multiple regression. Fetal ultrasounds (N = 80) were reviewed to determine onset of growth restriction. Placental histology was examined in 31 gastroschisis patients whose placental tissue was available and in 29 controls.

Results

Gastroschisis cases weighed less than controls (BW = 2400 ± 502 g vs. 2750 ± 532 g, p < 0.001) and their BW frequency curve was shifted to the left, indicating lower BW as a group compared to controls (p < 0.001 by Kolmogorov-Smirnov test). BW differences varied from -148 g at 33 weeks to -616 g at 38 weeks gestation. Intrauterine growth restriction was symmetric with gastroschisis patients having a shorter LT (45.7 ± 3.3 vs. 48.4 ± 2.7 cm, p < 0.001), smaller OFC (31.9 ± 1.9 vs. 32.9 ± 1.6 cm, p < 0.001), but larger ponderal index (2.51 ± 0.37 vs. 2.40 ± 0.16, p < 0.001) compared to controls. Gastroschisis patients had a similar reduction in BW (-312 g, 95% confidence interval [CI] = -367, -258) compared to those with chromosomal abnormalities (-239 g, CI = -292, -187). Growth deficits appeared early in the second trimester and worsened as gestation increased. Placental chorangiosis was more common in gastroschisis patients than controls, even after removing all SGA patients (77% vs. 42%, p = 0.02).

Conclusions

Marked, relatively symmetric intrauterine growth restriction is an intrinsic part of gastroschisis. It begins early in the second trimester, and is associated with placental chorangiosis.