Pre-discharge growth pattern of very low birth weight infants (VLBW): A 5 year single center experience


BACKGROUND: Very low birth weight infants born prematurely are at greater risk for growth delays that lead to Ex-utero Growth Restriction (EUGR) during vulnerable periods of organ structural and functional development. There is considerable evidence that early growth failure has adverse effects on long term neurodevelopment in children which often persists into adulthood.

METHODS: This is a single-center cross-sectional study on live newborn infants with birth weight ranges from 500 to 1500 grams (VLBW) and gestational age (GA) between 24–32 weeks who were admitted to NICU at KAMC-Jeddah over a 5 year period (2009–2013). This study aims to evaluate predischarge growth pattern of VLBW infants in terms of weight, head circumference (HC) and length and to identify important variables that have influenced such growth pattern.

RESULTS: Of the 135 infants included in the final analysis, 68 (50.4%) were male and 67 (49.6%) were female and the mean gestational age was 28.83±2.064 weeks and the mean birth weight 1166.74±256 grams. Ninety-two infants (68%) had discharge weight at ≤10th percentile and forty four (32%) had their weight >10th percentile. HC was the lowest affected among the anthropometric measurements with 42% ≤10th percentile. In terms of linear growth, 62% had their length ≤10th percentile. Amongst infants born ≤750 grams, 71% and 70% had HC and height at ≤10th percentile respectively, at the time of discharge. BPD was significantly associated with EUGR (p = 0.026).

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that almost 2/3rd of VLBW infants born at KAMC-Jeddah with birth weight ≤750 grams were discharged home with EUGR as demonstrated by their weight, length, and HC ≤10th percentile. BPD was found to be significantly associated with EUGR amongst post-natal factors influencing EUGR.

*Corresponding Author: 

Dr. Mansour A. AlQurashi, Department of Pediatric, Neonatology Division, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs, Western Region, P.O. Box. 8202, Jeddah, 21482, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Tel.: +966506608111; E-mail: