May 1987

Head Growth in Premature Infants

Author Affiliations

Department of Medical Genetics JW Riley Hospital RR 129 702 Barnhill Dr Indianapolis, IN 46223

Am J Dis Child. 1987;141(5):474-475. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460050016005

Sir.—A study of growth with emphasis on head circumference in premature infants done while I was a resident adds support to the conclusions of Moyer-Mileur and Chan.1 I measured weights and head circumferences (occipitofrontal circumference [OFC]) at least twice during the first week and then weekly for the hospital course (a minimum of two weeks) of 44 newborns admitted to an intensive care nursery. Measurements were made without comparison to prior measurements.

The groups of premature infants, arranged according to the pattern of head growth, are listed in the Table. Four infants received parenteral nutrition, with subsequent rapid weight gain and increase in OFC. The infants at risk for significant shrinkage in OFC were those below 2000 g and 36 weeks' gestational age with significant respiratory or other problems that prevented adequate enteral nourishment for a prolonged period. When nutrition was adequate, head growth occurred prior to weight

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