“Extrauterine growth restriction” and “postnatal growth failure” are misnomers for preterm infants
© 2020, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature America, Inc. Preterm infants are increasingly diagnosed as having “extrauterine growth restriction” (EUGR) or “postnatal growth failure” (PGF). Usually EUGR/PGF is diagnosed when weight is 36–40 weeks postmenstrual age. The reasons why the phrases EUGR/PGF are unhelpful include, they: (i) are not predictive of adverse outcome; (ii) are based only on weight without any consideration of head or length growth, proportionality, body composition, or genetic potential; (iii) ignore normal postnatal weight loss; (iv) are usually assessed prior to growth slowing of the reference fetus, around 36–40 weeks, and (v) are usually based on an arbitrary statistical growth percentile cut-off. Focus on EUGR/PGF prevalence may benefit with better attention to nutrition but may also harm with nutrition delivery above infants’ actual needs. In this paper, we highlight challenges associated with such arbitrary cut-offs and opportunities for further refinement of understanding growth and nutritional needs of preterm neonates.
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School of Medicine