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First-year growth in children with Noonan syndrome: Associated with feeding problems?

Children with Noonan syndrome show rapid decline of growth in the first year of life and feeding problems are present in over 50%. The aim of this study was to explore whether growth decelerates because of feeding problems or other Noonan syndrome-related factors. We performed a retrospective, longitudinal cohort study of clinically and genetically diagnosed subjects with Noonan syndrome (n = 143). Questionnaires about the phenotypic-genotypic profile and reported feeding problems were sent to eligible subjects. Data on first-year growth was obtained from growth charts. Ninety-one participants were excluded because of different criteria. A total of 52 subjects with Noonan syndrome were included. The largest decline in weight and length standard deviation score (SDS) occurred in the first 2.5 months after birth (-1.93 and -1.15, respectively), with feeding problems causing a decline of 0.57 SDS in the remaining months. At 1 year, children with feeding problems were on average 290 g lighter and 0.8 cm shorter than children without feeding problems. Weight gain was also negatively influenced by having a PTPN11 mutation (n = 39) and a higher gestational age, whereas children of parents with Noonan syndrome and with a higher birth weight gained more weight. Growth in length was reduced by having cardiac surgery and a higher gestational age, but positively influenced by birth length and maternal height. Growth in children with Noonan syndrome is impaired right after birth and only partially associated with feeding problems. In addition, several specific Noonan syndrome-related factors seem to influence growth in the first year.

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