Intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) represents the degree of body growth and development decided by genes and by placental function. Extrauterine growth retardation/restriction (EUGR) refers to severe nutritional deficits during the first weeks of life that result in growth that is less than expected based on intrauterine growth rates (growth values ≤10th percentile of intrauterine growth expected in accordance with the estimated gestational age). The deficits affect not only weight but also head circumference and height. As is well known, a nutrition support team (NST) is a multidisciplinary team comprised of physicians, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, social workers, and medical technologists who provide nutritional management. In this study, we review 2,015 premature infants (1,209 boys and 806 girls) from four hospitals in the Shanghai area from January 1, 2003 to December 31, 2006, two of which had NSTs. The overall incidence of EUGR was 56.8% assessed by weight, while the incidence of IUGR was 26.1%. Higher incidence of EUGR was associated with lower birth weight, but higher gestational age. There was a significant relationship between EUGR incidence and NST availability (χ2 = 60.630, p < 0.001), though there was no similar finding for IUGR incidence. The incidence of EUGR was 44% in NST hospitals and 62.6% in non-NST hospitals. According to logistic regression, the following five factors were related to EUGR: male gender, gestational age at birth, birth weight, length of hospital stay, and NST availability. NSTs reduced the risk of EUGR by a magnitude of 0.47. EUGR remains a serious problem in premature infants in Shanghai, but NSTs can reduce EUGR incidence.
Extrauterine growth retardationPremature infantsNutrition support team