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Pediatr Res. 1995 Jan;37(1):94-100.

Total body electrical conductivity measurements: an evaluation of current instrumentation for infants.

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USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030.


Quantitation of the body's fat and learn masses is an important component of nutritional assessment. Such measurements, however, are difficult to conduct routinely in infants due to the numerous limitations of traditional methods. The application of total body electrical conductivity measurements for quantitating fat-free mass (FFM) overcomes many of these limitations. The instruments required to perform these measurements in pediatric patients (HP-2) have recently become commercially available, but their measurement performance has not been evaluated. In these studies, we compared the precision, day-to-day variability, and magnetic field profile of three HP-2 instruments. We also derived a new calibration equation that relates the FFM to the total body electrical conductivity measurement in piglets, and compared it with an equation (provided currently by the manufacturer) derived on a prototype instrument. The performance of the instruments was generally similar, although a significant difference in the magnetic field of one instrument was identified. The coefficient of variation of inanimate phantom measurements varied from +/- 0.2 to +/- 0.5%, and the day-to-day variability was generally similar. Such measurement error is significant (+/- 0.035 to +/- 0.078 kg FFM) for small subjects. The new calibration equation was similar to the original equation; therefore, all the data were pooled to generate a new equation that is linear at least to 10 kg. Thus, the HP-2 total body electrical conductivity instruments, which can be safely and easily used to measure FFM and fat in infants through 1 y of age, proved to be reliable and precise, and results obtained from different instruments can be confidently compared.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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