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Am J Clin Nutr. 1990 Aug;52(2):203-8.

Anthropometric evaluation of children with chronic liver disease.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver 80262.


To characterize type and age distribution of malnutrition and to determine the usefulness of anthropometric indices in children with chronic liver disease (CLD), 56 children (aged 1 mo-10 y) with CLD underwent anthropometric evaluation when they were clinically stable. Mean-height Z score was depressed, whereas mean-weight Z score was closer to normal and mean-weight/height Z score was normal in patients with extrahepatic biliary atresia, idiopathic neonatal hepatitis, and other liver disorders. Patients with arteriohepatic dysplasia showed more severe depression of all three variables. In all patients, triceps skinfold (TSF) thickness Z scores were significantly more depressed than were weight/height Z scores. Depressions of midarm-circumference and midarm-muscle-area Z scores were intermediate. Mean-head-circumference Z score was depressed in children aged less than 24 mo. We conclude that acute (wasting) and chronic (stunting) malnutrition are common in childhood CLD and that weight/height values underestimate the degree of acute malnutrition compared with TSF thickness, most likely because of the inflated patient weight caused by organomegaly.

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