Catch-up growth of supine length/height of very low birth weight, small for gestational age preterm infants to adulthood

Ingeborg Brandt, Elisabeth J Sticker, Ruth Gausche, Michael J Lentze
Journal of Pediatrics 2005, 147 (5): 662-8

OBJECTIVE: To analyze linear growth of very low birth weight (VLBW), small for gestational age (SGA; < 10th percentile) preterm infants from birth as to catch-up or no catch-up growth.

STUDY DESIGN: VLBW SGA preterm infants (n = 46) with primarily symmetric intrauterine growth restriction from the Bonn Longitudinal Study were compared with 62 appropriate for gestational age (AGA) VLBW preterm and 73 term infants and with their parents.

RESULTS: Forty-six percent of VLBW SGA (21 of 46) had complete height catch-up by adult age, and most became taller than target height (TH) (15 of 21; 71%). The others did not catch up; most of them remained shorter than TH (18 of 25; 72%) after initial catch-up followed by catch-down growth. Mean adult height z-score was lower than that for birth length. Mean body mass index was similar in the catch-up and no catch-up groups (21.8 and 21.3, respectively) and lower than in the controls (23.2). Approximately 1/2 of the head circumference (HC) catch-up children achieved height catch-up as well.

CONCLUSIONS: Height catch-up extended beyond age 6 years, independent of HC growth. We could not predict height catch-down or successful catch-up.

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