September 27, 2006

Gastroschisis And Omphalocele Turn Out To Be Quite Different

The death of Rev. Run's daughter soon after her delivery by C-section last week might tee up debates somewhere about reality television and what point you stop the cameras--and about the ethics of hyping a show around a celebrity pregnancy when prenatal diagnosis may have provided plenty of opportunity for caution and temperance.

Frankly, I'm deeply uninterested in that at the moment. And it seems unambiguously wrong to read a headline, "Exclusive: Horrifying Death of Reality Star's Baby," much less to write it. [And I'm sorry, it's tragic and sad and hard to fathom, but it is not "horrifying."]

Anyway, both major conditions that jibe with TMZ's account [of the kid delivered with "organs outside the body"] are very rare, occurring in about 1 in every 5000 live births. Both are usually detectable early on via ultrasound, and parents and doctors usually have a while to prepare and get into the most appropriate NICU and pediatric surgery setup for their case. If you need to know about them, your obstetrician will no doubt provide the resources for you.

Thumbnail: gastroschisis [more commonly called abdominal wall defect] is the least complicated. it's an opening in the abdomen through which organs--usually just intestines--pop out. The biggest complication of this during pregnancy is the reaction of the unprotected organs to the amniotic fluid. Attempts to treat it surgically usually take place right away.

Omphalocele is more like a herniated umbilical cord, where the organs--up to/including the liver, sometimes--are in a protected sac/cyst outside the fetus's body. Unlike with gastroschisis, omphalocele often has chromosomal abnormalities associated with it. Treatment and complications are both more protracted.

The American Pediatric Surgical Association has resource pages if you need them. []
UCSF Fetal Treatment Center info on gastroschisis []


is it a slow news week or have you been reading dlisted? I never thought I'd see an overlap...

well said. so sad.

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