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March 1990

Growth Delay in Postburn Pediatric Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Shriners Burns Institute, Galveston (Tex) Unit (Ms Rutan and Dr Herndon) and the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston (Dr Herndon).

Arch Surg. 1990;125(3):392-395. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1990.01410150114021

• Dampened height and weight velocities have been observed in our postburn pediatric population. To validate this phenomenon, the medical records of 80 patients who had sustained a greater than 40% total body surface area burn, were older than 2 years of age at the time of the burn, and were at least 1 year post burn were reviewed. All patients were treated with early excision of the burn wound within 72 hours of injury and received standard post burn resuscitational and nutritional support. Admission height and weight plots were within normal distribution parameters. Yearly growth velocities were calculated for up to 3 years after the burn. Despite adequate nutritional support and maximal exercise and/or long-bone stresses, a profound growth arrest was noted during postburn year 1, which slowly resolved to near normal distribution by postburn year 3. This retrospective study demonstrates that severe thermal injury is associated with a growth delay in the pediatric population. The exact cause of this phenomenon remains unknown.

(Arch Surg. 1990;125:392-395)