Biologic Risks in “Nonorganic” Failure to Thrive: Diagnostic and Therapeutic Implications

  • Deborah A. Frank


Failure to thrive is not a diagnosis but a symptom, the final common pathway of many possible physiologic insults. Traditionally, children with major organ system dysfunction sufficient to account for their growth failure are labelled “organic” FTT. When no such major organ system can be identified, children with growth failure are diagnosed as “nonorganic” FTT. However, the diagnosis of “nonorganic” FTT identifies children burdened by multiple biologic risks. These risks fall into three categories: 1) perinatal; 2) toxic-immunologic; and 3) neurodevelopmental. This chapter outlines the diagnostic and therapeutic implications of each of these three categories of biologic risk for the clinical care of the child with “nonorganic” FTT.


Head Circumference Growth Failure Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Protein Energy Malnutrition Nutritional Deprivation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deborah A. Frank
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsBoston UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Grow TeamBoston City HospitalUSA

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