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Diana Mossop

Abdominal Defects

Definition

Defects of the abdominal wall are comparatively common fetal abnormalities. It occurs in about 1 in every 2,000 births. Majority of these defects of the abdominal wall cannot be detected early on in pregnancy. When a defect is detected, it is necessary to pinpoint what type of defect it is so that proper medication and treatments can be done. There are many types of abdominal wall disorders. Some examples include: gastroschisis, omphalocele, esophageal atresia, and duodenal atresia.

Diagnosis

Since most of these abdominal defects cannot be detected until early on in pregnancy, it is important for the expectant mother to undergo ultrasound examinations and cord insertions on her second and third trimester of pregnancy.

Types of Abdominal Defects

Ěstroschisis and Omphalocele are generally the two most frequent cases of abdominal defects. Gastroschisis is a disorder that is normally found on the right portion of the umbilical cord insertion. This is not covered by any membrane that is why a small part of the bowel swells out. More often than not, it is the large and small bowels that are engaged but there are some cases when the liver, stomach, and the genitourinary system may also be involved. The bowel could become thick or may be diluted because of amniotic fluid exposure. 15% of the time, segmental atresia or malrotation could be present. These two are cases of complications of the bowel. Gastroschisis is believed to be sporadic and is usually not associated with abnormalities of the chromosome. There are some domestic cases that were reported, though. Omphalocele, on the other hand, is a defect of the midline portion of the abdominal wall. This results into bowel herniation and contents of the abdomen to be poured out into the umbilical cord. This defect could be classified by the absence (or presence) of the liver organ in the omphalocele pouch. This defect is different from gastroschisis because a membrane covers the contents of the bowel in this case. When this happens, excess fluid often accumulates in the sac. Esophageal atresia is a common gastrointestinal sporadic disorder which is a result of incomplete separation of the foregut into the esophagus and trachea. It is difficult to diagnose this type of defect before the 24th week of gestation. Duodenal atresia is a disorder in which the duodenum has not developed normally which resulted in the obstruction of the bowel and the stomach. Amniocentesis could be beneficial to this type of defect.

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