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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2014 Feb;58(2):183-7. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000000145.

Enteral zinc supplementation and growth in extremely-low-birth-weight infants with chronic lung disease.

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  • 1*Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition †Section of Neonatology ‡Department of Pharmacy Services, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus §Division of Neonatology and Pulmonary Biology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH.



Zinc deficiency causes growth deficits. Extremely-low-birth-weight (ELBW) infants with chronic lung disease (CLD), also known as bronchopulmonary dysplasia, experience growth failure and are at risk for zinc deficiency. We hypothesized that enteral zinc supplementation would increase weight gain and linear growth.


A cohort of infants was examined retrospectively at a single center between January 2008 and December 2011. CLD was defined as the need for oxygen at 36 weeks postmenstrual age. Zinc supplementation was started in infants who had poor weight gain. Infants' weight gain and linear growth were compared before and after zinc supplementation using the paired t test.


A total of 52 ELBW infants with CLD met entry criteria. Mean birth weight was 682 ± 183 g, and gestational age was 25.3 ± 2 weeks. Zinc supplementation started at postmenstrual age 33 ± 2 weeks. Most infants received fortified human milk. Weight gain increased from 10.9 before supplementation to 19.9 g · kg(-1) · day(-1) after supplementation (P < 0.0001). Linear growth increased from 0.7 to 1.1 cm/week (P = 0.001).


Zinc supplementation improved growth in ELBW infants with CLD receiving human milk. Further investigation is warranted to reevaluate zinc requirements, markers, and balance.

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