Reported is the analysis of morbidity, mortality, and mode of delivery in 38 cases of ventral wall defects identified from among 128,500 consecutive live births in Maine (January 1975 to December 1982). Thirteen of the ventral wall defects were classified as gastroschisis, and only one had an additional defect not directly attributable to the ventral wall defect itself. By contrast, 16 of the 25 omphalocele cases had additional defects, including eight congenital heart lesions, four genitourinary malformations, two neural tube defects, and three trisomies. Ten cases of omphalocele and one of gastroschisis died, all as a result of independent defects or involvement of adjacent structures. Intrauterine growth retardation was prominently associated with gastroschisis. Vaginal delivery occurred in three of the six ventral wall defects diagnosed antenatally and in 28 of the 32 ventral wall defects not diagnosed until delivery. The only episode of birth trauma to ventral wall defect sac or abdominal viscera occurred during cesarean section in an undiagnosed case. The present data provide a basis for prognosis and management of antenatally diagnosed ventral wall defects and suggest that these defects are not, a priori, an indication for abdominal delivery.
© 1984 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists