Background and aims To evaluate the growth of occipito-frontal circumference (OFC), length and weight, between birth and term equivalent age (TEA) of very preterm infants and to compare to somatometry of term-born control infants.
Methods We assessed prospectively a cohort of infants born at ≤32 weeks gestation and term control newborns. Infants with cerebral abnormalities were excluded. Measurements of OFC, length and weight were performed at birth and TEA for preterm and at birth for term infants. Brain volume was estimated by a previously described ultrasonographic model (Graca A, Early Hum Dev 2013). Z-scores for somatometric variables were determined based on Fenton 2013 growth charts and z-scores for estimated brain volume were defined in controls. We used paired samples t-test to compare z-scores between birth and TEA for preterms and independent samples t-test to compare z-scores between preterm infants at TEA and controls.
Results We assessed 128 infants (72 preterms and 56 controls). Weight and length z-scores decreased significantly between birth and TEA and were significantly inferior to controls, whereas OFC z-scores increased and were identical at TEA to controls (Figure). Estimated brain volume was nevertheless significantly inferior for preterm infants at TEA.