May 1995

Longitudinal Assessment of Growth in Children Born to Mothers With Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(5):497-502. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170180027004

Objectives:  To describe and to evaluate the longitudinal growth of children born to mothers with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

Design:  Measurements of weight, length (measured in infants in a recumbent position) and height (measured in older children in an upright position), and head circumference were documented and evaluated longitudinally using generalized estimating equations in a group of children born to HIV-infected mothers. Children infected with HIV were compared with uninfected children and with National Center for Health Statistics standards.

Setting:  Primary care clinic in an urban hospital devoted to the medical care of children born to HIV-infected mothers.

Patients:  One hundred nine children born to HIV-infected mothers, 59 HIV-infected and 50 uninfected, between birth and 70 months of age.

Results:  The mean birth weights of both groups were below the 50th percentile. While the mean weight-for-age curve of uninfected children attained the 50th percentile by age 24 months, the mean birth weight-for-age curve of HIV-infected children remained below the 50th percentile. Weight gain became significantly different between the two groups by age 36 months. The mean birth length-for-age curves of HIV-infected and uninfected children was also below the 50th percentile. The mean height-for-age curve of uninfected children attained the 50th percentile by age 40 months, while that of HIV-infected children remained well below the 50th percentile. Linear growth between HIV-infected and uninfected children diverged earlier than weight, becoming significantly different by age 15 months.

Conclusions:  Although children born to HIV-infected mothers are born with weight and length below the 50th percentile, uninfected children catch up, while HIV-infected children remain below the 50th percentile and experience an earlier and more pronounced decrease in linear growth (height-for-age) than in weight-for-age.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149:497-502)