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Till, H.; Muensterer, O.; Mueller, M.; Klis, V.; Klotz, S.; Metzger, R.; Joppich, I. (2003): Intrauterine repair of gastroschisis in fetal rabbits. In: Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy, Nr. 5: S. 297-300


Objective: Infants with gastroschisis (GS) still face severe morbidity. Prenatal closure may prevent gastrointestinal organ damage, but intrauterine GS repair (GSR) has not been established yet. Methods: In New Zealand White rabbits we developed and compared GS versus GSR: creation of GS was achieved by hysterotomy, right-sided laparotomy of the fetus and pressure on the abdominal wall to provoke evisceration. GSR was accomplished by careful reposition of eviscerated organs and a running suture of the fetal abdominal wall. For study purposes, 18 animals were divided equally into 3 groups: GS, GS with GSR after 2 h, and unmanipulated controls (C). Vitality was assessed by echocardiography. After 5 h all animals were sacrificed. Results: GSR inflicted no increased mortality, because all fetuses survived GS or GS with GSR. All fetuses with GS demonstrated significant evisceration of abdominal organs. In contrast, the abdominal wall of the fetuses from GSR was intact. Conclusion:The present animal model demonstrated the technical feasibility and success of an intrauterine repair of GS for the first time. However, further long-term studies (leaving GS and GSR in utero for several days) will be necessary to compare survival rates and intestinal injury, motility or absorption. The clinical application of GSR in utero remains a vision so far. Copyright (C) 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel.