Catch-up Growth in Children Treated With Home Enteral Nutrition

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Abstract

Methods

We reviewed the medical records of 78 consecutive children (median age, 20 months) who were enrolled in the home enteral feeding program at the Alberta Children's Hospital (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) between 1993 and 1995. Weights, heights, and weight-for-heights were expressed as Z scores, using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention anthropometric growth curve software. To evaluate growth outcome, the total group was further subdivided using anthropometric criteria into appropriate, wasted, or stunted at the time of entry to the program. In a subgroup of 36 children on whom anthropometric data was available for a median length of 5.7 months, Z scores were compared at 3 points in time: before entry, at time of entry, and last follow-up.

Results

Patients were classified into five main groups: 11 (14%) had pulmonary disease, 26 (33%) had a gastrointestinal disorder, 21 (27%) had congenital defects, 10 (13%) had a neurologic disorder, and the remaining 10 (13%) had a variety of other illnesses, including malignancies and metabolic disorders. Patients were on the program for a median duration of 8.9 months. It was found that during the period of support within the program, enteral feeding was successful in improving weight-for-age Z scores by 0.42 standard deviations but the effect on height-for-age Z scores and weight-for-height Z scores did not reach significance for this population. The subgroup of 36 children on whom longitudinal anthropometric data was available before entering the program was found to have had a significant drop in weight Z scores between the time before program entry (median length of time, 5.7 months) and the time of program entry, which indicates that these children were falling off the growth curve before commencing enteral feeding. To evaluate growth outcome, the total group was further subdivided using anthropometric criteria into appropriate, wasted, or stunted at the time of entry to the program. In the group of appropriate growth patients, while in the program, 50% had catch-up growth for weight (positive change in Z scores) and 33% for height. In the wasted patients, 92% improved their weight percentile and 75% their height percentile. In the stunted group, 71% had catch-up growth for weight and 74% for height.

Conclusion

We concluded that the enteral feeding program was able to promote catch-up growth or maintain growth along percentiles in the majority of children. Pediatrics 1998;102:951-955.

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