Elective delivery at 34 weeks vs routine obstetric care in fetal gastroschisis: randomized controlled trial

Publication Date


Journal Title

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol


Copyright © 2019 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Objective: To evaluate whether elective preterm delivery (ED) at 34 weeks is of postnatal benefit to infants with isolated gastroschisis compared with routine obstetric care (RC). Methods: Between May 2013 and September 2015, all women with a sonographic diagnosis of fetal gastroschisis referred to a single tertiary center, before 34 weeks' gestation, were invited to participate in this study. Eligible patients were randomized to ED (induction of labor at 34 weeks) or RC (spontaneous labor or delivery by 37–38 weeks, based on standard obstetric indications). The primary outcome measure was length of time on total parenteral nutrition (TPN). Secondary outcomes were time to closure of gastroschisis and length of stay in hospital. Outcome variables were compared using appropriate statistical methods. Analysis was based on intention-to-treat. Results: Twenty-five women were assessed for eligibility, of whom 21 (84%; 95% CI, 63.9–95.5%) agreed to participate in the study; of these, 10 were randomized to ED and 11 to RC. The trial was stopped at the first planned interim analysis due to patient safety concerns and for futility; thus, only 21 of the expected 86 patients (24.4%; 95% CI, 15.8–34.9%) were enrolled. Median gestational age at delivery was 34.3 (range, 34–36) weeks in the ED group and 36.7 (range, 27–38) weeks in the RC group. One patient in the ED group delivered at 36 weeks following unsuccessful induction at 34 weeks. Neonates of women who underwent ED, compared to those in the RC group, showed no difference in the median number of days on TPN (54 (range, 17–248) vs 21 (range, 9–465) days; P = 0.08), number of days to closure of gastroschisis (7 (range, 0–15) vs 5 (range, 0–8) days; P = 0.28) and length of stay in hospital (70.5 (range, 22–137) vs 31 (range, 19–186) days; P = 0.15). However, neonates in the ED group were significantly more likely to experience late-onset sepsis compared with those in the RC group (40% (95% CI, 12.2–73.8%) vs 0%; P = 0.03). Conclusion: This study demonstrates no benefit of ED of fetuses with gastroschisis when postnatal gastroschisis management is similar to that used in routine care. Rather, the data suggest that ED is detrimental to infants with gastroschisis. Copyright © 2019 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Volume Number


Issue Number



15 - 19

Document Type





School of Medicine

Primary Department

Obstetrics and Gynecology





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