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Poor Head Growth Is Associated with Later Mental Delay among Vietnamese Preterm Infants: A Follow-up Study

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BACKGROUND: Preterm infants in low- and middle-income countries are at high risk of poor physical growth, but their growth data are still scarce.

OBJECTIVES: To describe the growth of Vietnamese preterm infants in the first 2 years, and to compare with references: World Health Organization (WHO) child growth standards, and healthy Southeast Asian (SEA) infants. Further, to assess the association between growth in the first year and neurodevelopment at 2 years corrected age (CA).

METHODS: We conducted a cohort study to follow up preterm infants discharged from a neonatal intensive care unit for 2 years. Weight, length and head circumference (HC) were measured at 3, 12 and 24 months CA. Neurodevelopment was assessed using Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development-3rd Edition at 24 months CA.

RESULTS: Over 90% of the cohort showed catch-up weight at 3 months CA. Weight and length were comparable to healthy SEA but were lower than WHO standards. HC was significantly smaller than those of WHO standards with HC Z-scores steadily decreasing from -0.95 at 3 months CA to -1.50 at 24 months CA. Each one decrement of HC Z-score from 3 to 12 months CA was associated with nearly twice an increase in odds of mental delay at 24 months CA (odds ratio 1.89; 95% confidence interval 1.02-3.50).

CONCLUSION: Vietnamese preterm infants exhibited early catch-up weight but poor head growth, which was associated with later delays in mental development. Our findings support the importance of HC measures in follow-up for preterm infants.

TidsskriftJournal of Tropical Pediatrics
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)1-11
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - feb. 2021

ID: 61594745