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Organic and non-organic failure to thrive

Traditionally, infants and children who were having trouble gaining weight and growing were considered to have ‘Failure to thrive’ (FTT) which is an outdated term and now we talk about ‘Faltering growth’. What about the classification or ‘organic failure to thrive’ and ‘non-organic’ or ‘psychosocial failure to thrive’? Are these outdated terms too? Many would say so, with the suggestion that faltering growth is such a complex condition that this simplistic approach is redundant. In a retrospective note review, Tiwari M et al (J Paediatrics and Child Health 2023;59(10):1115–1121.https://doi.org/10.1111/jpc.16462) have examined the biopsychosocial features of children admitted to a paediatric inpatient unit with FTT. They have used the traditional classifications of those with underlying medical complexities (categorised as organic FTT – OFTT) and those with none (categorised as non-organic FTT – NOFTT), but they have focused on the four suggested areas of medical, nutritional, feeding skills and psychosocial domains. They have considered the child’s environment looking for evidence of abuse, emotional deprivation, parental psychopathologies, or other parenting challenges other wise known as Adverse Childhood experiences (ACEs). They included 353 children with the mean age of presentation 0.82 ± 2.05 years (OFTT 1.16 ± 2.50 years, NOFTT 0.49 ± 1.41 years, p = 0.002). Half of the children were classified as having OFTT. These children had lower birth weights, …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.