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November 1985

Infants With Caloric-Deprivation Failure to Thrive

Author Affiliations

Departments of Pediatrics, and Community Health and Preventive Medicine Northwestern University Medical School 303 E Chicago Ave Chicago, IL 60611 and Division of Ambulatory Services The Children's Memorial Hospital 2300 Children's Plaza Chicago, IL 60614

Am J Dis Child. 1985;139(11):1075-1076. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1985.02140130013015

Sir.—In their article, Ellerstein and Ostrov describe weight gain patterns in hospitalized infants with "caloric-deprivation failure to thrive."1 Their exploration of this understudied phenomenon is most welcome. However, their report suffers from an omission common to most of the published literature on failure to thrive (FTT): the degree of malnutrition of the patients was not assessed.

The data analysis presented group patients by age and so we assume that this is the most relevant variable affecting the recovery rate. Yet, without information on the patients' nutritional status (beyond the usual weight percentile criteria), the unstated assumption that like-age patients were comparably debilitated cannot be supported. In fact, it is likely that the patients studied included a rather wide range of malnutrition (from marginal to very severe) and that the rate of weight gain, length of hospitalization, and complications were related to the degree of malnutrition as well as