Omphalocele - Symptoms, causes and treatment

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Omphalocele - Symptoms, causes and treatment
Omphalocele - Symptoms, causes and treatment

Omphalocele or omphalocele is a birth disorder characterized by the passage of organs in the baby's abdominal cavity, such as the stomach, intestines, and liver, through the navel. Omphalocele can be detected since pregnancy or only seen when the baby is born

Omphalocele is a relatively rare birth disorder. The results showed omphalocele occurs in 1 in 5,000-10,000 births. Omphalocele is often confused with gastroschisis. In fact, the two are different disorders.

Omphalocele - Alodokter

The difference is in omphalocele, the organ that comes out is covered by a membrane; whereas in gastroschisis, the organs that come out are not covered by a membrane membrane.

Causes of Omphalocele

Omphalocele occurs due to abnormalities in fetal development. During fetal development, precisely at 6-10 weeks of gestation, the intestines and internal organs, such as the liver, bladder, stomach, ovaries, or testes, protrude toward the navel.

The protruding organ will re-enter the abdominal cavity when the gestational age enters the 11th week. However, in infants with omphalocele, the intestines and these organs do not re-enter the abdominal cavity.

It is not known exactly what causes omphalocele. However, it is suspected that this condition is related to changes (mutations) or abnormalities in genes or chromosomes.

Risk factors for omphalocele

Although the exact cause of omphalocele is unknown, there are a number of factors that are known to increase the risk of this condition, namely:

  • The habit of consuming excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages during pregnancy
  • Smoking habit of more than 1 pack a day during pregnancy
  • Use of SSRI (selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors) antidepressant drugs during pregnancy
  • Obesity during pregnancy

Babies with omphalocele also often have genetic disorders, such as Turner syndrome, Patau syndrome (trisomy 13), Edward's syndrome (trisomy 18), Down's syndrome (trisomy 21), Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, and congenital abnormalities of the bones back, heart, and digestive organs.

Symptoms and Signs of Omphalocele

Omphalocele is easy to recognize because the symptoms are quite clear, namely the discharge of organs in the stomach through the navel hole. The organ that comes out of the navel is covered by a protective membrane.

In mild omphalocele, the hole that is formed is not too big, so that only one organ or only part of the intestine comes out. However, in severe cases where the hole formed is large enough, the intestines, liver, bladder, stomach, and testicles can also be expelled.

When to see a doctor

If you are pregnant, check your pregnancy regularly with your obstetrician. In addition to maintaining a he althy pregnancy, prenatal care can detect whether the fetus has an omphalocele.

If the fetus is known to have omphalocele, the doctor will recommend that pregnancy checks be carried out more often. The aim is to monitor the development of the fetus and to plan a delivery method that is suitable for the condition of the pregnant mother and fetus.

Omphalocele Diagnosis

Omphalocele can be detected by ultrasound during pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. If an omphalocele is detected, the doctor will perform a series of examinations on the fetus, such as fetal echo, namely ultrasound to see the function and picture of the heart in the fetus, ultrasound to see the kidneys, and genetic testing.

In newborns, an omphalocele will be visible through a physical examination. If the baby is born with an omphalocele, the doctor will also perform supporting examinations, such as X-rays, to see if there are abnormalities in other organs.

Omphalocele Treatment

Omphalocele is treated with surgery. The timing of this operation depends on the baby's condition and the severity of the omphalocele.

In mild omphalocele, surgery will be performed immediately after the baby is born. This operation aims to insert the organ back into the abdominal cavity.

If the omphalocele is severe, the organ will be gradually inserted into the stomach. This is because the baby's abdominal cavity is still in its infancy. While waiting for the baby's abdominal cavity to develop, the doctor will perform the following treatments:

  • Putting the baby in the incubator to keep him warm
  • Installing a breathing apparatus or ventilator
  • Giving fluids and food through an IV
  • Installing a nasogastric tube to suck fluid and air from the abdominal cavity
  • Applying antibiotic cream on the membrane that lines the organs outside the stomach to prevent bacterial infection
  • Covering the organs that come out with a special protective barrier to prevent dehydration

After the baby's abdominal cavity has developed, surgery will be carried out again to insert the organ that came out, then the hole where the organ came out will be closed and stitched.

Complications of Omphalocele

Omphalocele can cause a number of complications, both before and after the baby is born. These complications include:

  • Developmental disorders
  • Difficulty eating and breathing
  • Infection due to rupture of the protective membranes of organs
  • Death of tissue in organs that come out of the navel due to lack of blood supply

Omphalocele Prevention

To reduce the risk of omphalocele, pregnant women are advised to routinely have a pregnancy check-up with a gynecologist, adopt a he althy lifestyle, and not take any medication without consulting a doctor first.

Some steps that can be taken to implement a he althy lifestyle for omphalocele prevention are:

  • Eat balanced nutritious food
  • Take vitamins or supplements prescribed by a doctor, including folic acid
  • Do not smoke and consume alcoholic beverages
  • Maintaining ideal body weight

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