The economic burden of gastroschisis: Costs of a birth defect

Diana M. Hook-Dufresne, Xiaoying Yu, Vinay Bandla, Essam Imseis, Stacey D. Moore-Olufemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background Intestinal dysfunction and feeding intolerance are comorbidities associated with the abdominal wall birth defect of gastroschisis (GS). These factors contribute to prolonged hospitalization in this population of patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the economic burden on a state and national level. Methods From 2007-2011, the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project database was queried for the following national and state of Texas data: number of discharges, length of stay (LOS), costs, and charges for all pediatric hospital stays ± CPT code 54.71 denoting GS repair for infants aged <1 y. The effect of GS on LOS, cost, and charges was calculated by the weighted average of the differences and is represented by the combined estimated difference (CED). Results Infants <1 y represent 74% of all pediatric discharges nationally and only 0.04% of these discharges are accounted for by GS patients. Nationally, GS patients had significantly longer LOS (CED 38.5 ± 0.9 d, P < 0.0001); increased costs (CED $79,733 ± $2119, P < 0.0001); and charges (CED $249,999 ± $9562, P < 0.0001). The Texas state data mirrored our findings for the national data. There was no significant difference in the LOS, costs, and charges between the national and state level. Conclusions Our study shows that GS patients represent an extremely small minority of national and Texas pediatric discharges; however, these patients LOS and costs greatly exceed non-GS patients. Further investigation into factors influencing the development of intestinal dysfunction in these patients is needed to significantly impact the economic burden of the abdominal wall birth defect of GS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-20
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Costs
  • Gastroschisis
  • Intestinal failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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