Gastroschisis survival rates vary greatly

Oct. 29, 2007 at 8:09 PM
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BALTIMORE, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- U.S. medical scientists have determined survival rates of newborns having an uncomplicated abdominal hole near the umbilical cord vary greatly by hospital.

The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine researchers said 97 percent of newborns survive the condition, called gastroschisis. But when treated at some hospitals, that survival rate drops to less than 90 percent.

A research team led by Dr. Fizan Abdullah studied mortality rates at 40 U.S. hospitals treating at least 25 infants for the condition. Nationally, the average death rate for the condition is 2.9 percent

The study found 10 of the 40 hospitals surveyed reported death rates higher than the national average, with two reporting mortality rates of 8.6 percent and 14.3 percent.

"We didn't expect to see these striking variations from hospital to hospital in these fairly uncomplicated cases," said Dr. Meghan Arnold, a surgical resident at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

The researchers said future studies should determine if the varying survival rates are due nurse-to-patient ratios, variations in medication, nursing protocols or the availability of pediatric subspecialists.

The findings were presented this week in San Francisco, during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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