, Volume 21, Issue 11, pp 986-990
Date: 26 May 2005

Head circumference and chronic positive pressure ventilation in children: a pilot study

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We reviewed the cases of 11 children <12 years of age with complex medical conditions and respiratory failure requiring chronic positive pressure ventilation (CPPV). We conducted a within-group comparison of average head circumference (HC) percentiles with each child’s age-expected 50th percentile value and a between-groups comparison with children with no history of ventilation. We examined the relationship between HC, peak levels of positive inspiratory pressure (PIP), and length of time on CPPV.


We found that children on CPPV had an average HC value at the 71st percentile, significantly greater (p=0.009) than the age-expected 50th percentile; that children on CPPV had a greater (p=0.003) average HC percentile compared with children with complex medical conditions not on CPPV; and that peak levels of PIP had a moderately strong correlation to HC (r=0.689, p=0.019).


We conclude that children on CPPV have larger than expected HC and HC appears related to the peak level of PIP. Research to further investigate the relationship between HC and CPPV in children appears to be warranted.

The results of this study were presented at the European Respiratory Society 13th Annual Congress, 27 September–1 October 2003, Vienna, Austria
This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board at the Franciscan Hospital for Children, Boston, MA, USA