European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 174, Issue 1, pp 33–41 | Cite as

Preterm infants with severe extrauterine growth retardation (EUGR) are at high risk of growth impairment during childhood

  • V. Pampanini
  • A. Boiani
  • C. De Marchis
  • C. Giacomozzi
  • R. Navas
  • R. Agostino
  • F. Dini
  • P. Ghirri
  • S. Cianfarani
Original Article


Extrauterine growth retardation (EUGR) seriously affects premature newborns and is related to the impairment of growth during childhood. There are very limited data available concerning the growth outcome of EUGR children. Our aim was to assess the growth outcome in a cohort of children born before 34 weeks of gestation with severe EUGR. This was a retrospective multicenter study, performed in outpatient endocrinology clinic. A total of 103 premature children with weight and/or length below −2 standard deviation score (SDS) of “intrauterine” growth expectation at the time of discharge from hospital (within 42 weeks of postmenstrual age) were included in the study. The study participants underwent a thorough anthropometric assessment at a mean age of 3.9 years ± 1.7 SD. Of the EUGR children, 12.6 % showed a height below −2 SDS and 7.7 % even below −2.5 SDS. Growth impairment was more common in males than in females (17 vs. 8 %). The prevalence of subnormal weight (below −2 SDS) was 13.6 %, being higher in males than in females (17 vs. 10 %). BMI values below −2 SDS were found in 18.4 % of our study population (22.7 % in males and 12 % in females). The 19.6 % of EUGR children did not catch up in head circumference during early childhood. Length at term was the major predictor of height in childhood (P < 0.001). Conclusion: A significant proportion of children born prematurely with severe EUGR show growth retardation in childhood thus suggesting the need for a close clinical follow-up to determine their growth potential and implement effective intervention strategies.


Extrauterine growth retardation Growth Low birth weight 



Appropriate for gestational age


Birth crown-heel length


Body mass index


Birth weight


Extremely low birth weight


Extrauterine growth restriction


Gestational age


Growth hormone


Head circumference


Neonatology intensive care unit


Standard deviation score


Small for gestational age


Very low birth weight



This study was generously supported by Pfizer grant.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Pampanini
    • 1
  • A. Boiani
    • 2
  • C. De Marchis
    • 2
  • C. Giacomozzi
    • 3
  • R. Navas
    • 3
  • R. Agostino
    • 4
  • F. Dini
    • 5
  • P. Ghirri
    • 5
  • S. Cianfarani
    • 1
    • 6
  1. 1.D.P.U.O. “Bambino Gesù” Children’s Hospital“Tor Vergata” UniversityRomeItaly
  2. 2.“Bambino Gesù” Children’s HospitalRomeItaly
  3. 3.“Belcolle” HospitalViterboItaly
  4. 4.Department of Women’s and Children’s Health“San Giovanni Calibita-Fatebenefratelli” HospitalRomeItaly
  5. 5.Department of PediatricsUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  6. 6.Department of Women’s and Children’s HealthKarolinska InstituteStockholmSweden

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