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J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Sep;20(9):1017-26.

Growth and development are similar in VLBW children born appropriate and small for gestational age: an interim report on 97 preschool children.

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  • 1Paediatric Endocrinology Section, University Hospital for Children and Adolescents, Tuebingen, Germany.



To investigate growth and development in a cohort of children born with very low birth weight (VLBW) treated at a single tertiary neonatal unit.


We studied 97 children born between January 1995 and July 1997 with BW <1,500 g. At follow-up (mean age 3.7 years) anthropometric data and data on neurological status, motor, speech and language development were collected. Small for gestational age (SGA) was defined as weight and/or length at birth <10th percentile; shortness at follow-up was defined as height <10th percentile.


Comparison was made between the appropriate for gestational age (AGA) (n = 46) and SGA (n = 51) groups. At follow-up, 23 AGA and 35 SGA children were short, had a smaller head circumference (-1.9 vs -0.8 SDS), were lighter at birth (BW -1.3 vs -0.7 SDS), and had a higher rate of broncho-pulmonary dysplasia (BPD) (28 vs 12); no differences in neonatal characteristics or neurological status were evident. A higher frequency of motor delay occurred in the 'short' group. Short children also had a smaller head circumference (HC) (-1.6 vs -0.7). Short SGA children had a higher frequency of BPD, smaller HC (-2.1 vs -1.0), and a slightly higher proportion of suspicious neurological findings, motor delay, and speech and language delay (n.s.).


Preterm VLBW infants, whether AGA or SGA at birth, face the risk of being short at preschool age. Height outcome is probably influenced by postnatal factors. Our data also suggest that short stature is associated with developmental difficulties in this population.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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