Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health (East Africa)


Early discharge of preterm very low birth weight (VLBW) infants is at times inevitable in low resource settings. The implication of such practice on the growth of this high-risk population is not known. We conducted a retrospective chart review to describe the growth of preterm VLBW infants discharged with a weight of less than 1500 g.


To describe the growth of discharged preterm VLBW infants over the first 12 weeks.


Between June 2013 and January 2014; 164 discharged preterm VLBW infants were followed up for 3 months. Among the survivors (132), we identified 111 infant records for this study. Relevant data was entered in STATA for analysis. Growth percentiles were determined at approximately 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and 12 weeks post-discharge using the intergrowth 21st growth charts. Growth velocities were computed using the 2-point average weight model. Regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with growth failure. Growth failure was defined as occipital frontal circumference (OFC), weight, and length < 10th centile by 12 weeks post-discharge. P-value of < 0.05 was considered significant at a 95% confidence interval.


Among the study infants the median gestational age and weight at birth were 32 weeks (range 28-35 weeks) and 1250 g(range 850-1500 g) respectively; 60/111(54%) were Small for Gestational Age (SGA). The median discharge postmenstrual age (PMA) was 34 weeks (range 30-38 weeks) and weight was 1140 g (range 830-1490 g). The majority 88.2% had not recovered birth weight at discharge of whom 59.1% recovered by 2 weeks and 40.9% recovered between 2 and 4 weeks after discharge. By 12 weeks post-discharge the median PMA and weight were 46 weeks (range 37-51 weeks),and 3110 g (range 1750-5000 g) respectively, 38.7% of the infants had growth failure and 36.9% had OFC< 15 g/kg/d in the first 4 weeks (OR 3.8, p 0.010) and subsequent 4 weeks (OR 2.5, p 0.049) post-discharge were independently associated with growth failure.


Slow birth weight recovery was observed and growth failure was prevalent by 12 weeks post-discharge with more than a third having severe microcephaly. Poor post-discharge growth velocity was associated with subsequent growth failure.


Growth velocity monitoring among preterm VLBW infants should be emphasized. The implication and interventions of this early growth failure needs to be explored.

Publication ( Name of Journal)

BMC Pediatrics

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.