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Lean Tissue Deficit in Preterm Infants Persists up to 4 Months of Age: Results from a Swedish Longitudinal Study

Authors
  • Chmielewska, Anna
  • Farooqi, Aijaz
  • Domellöf, Magnus
  • Ohlund, Inger
Type
Published Article
Journal
Neonatology
Publisher
S. Karger AG
Publication Date
Dec 10, 2019
Volume
117
Issue
1
Pages
80–87
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1159/000503292
PMID: 31822002
Source
Karger
Keywords
License
Green
External links

Abstract

Background: At term-equivalent age, infants born prematurely are shorter, lighter and have more adipose tissue compared to term counterparts. Little is known on whether the differences in body composition persist in later age. Methods: We prospectively recruited 33 preterm infants (<32 weeks gestational age, mean gestational age 28.1 weeks) and 69 term controls. Anthropometry and body composition (air displacement plethysmography) were monitored up to 4 months of age. Nutrient intakes from preterm infants were collected from clinical records. Results: At 4 months of age preterm infants were lighter and shorter than term controls (mean weight-for-age z-score: –0.73 vs. 0.06, p = 0.001; mean length-for-age z-score: –1.31 vs. 0.29, p < 0.0001). The significantly greater percentage of total body fat seen in preterm infants at term-equivalent age (20.2 vs. 11.7%, p < 0.0001) was no longer observed at 4 months. A deficit of fat-free mass persisted until 4 months of age (fat-free mass at term-equivalent age: 2.71 vs. 3.18 kg, p < 0.0001; at 4 months: 4.3 vs. 4.78 kg, p < 0.0001). The fat mass index and fat-free mass index (taking length into account) did not differ between the groups. Nutrition had little effect on body composition. Higher protein intake at week 2 was a negative predictor of fat-free mass at discharge. Conclusions: At 4 months corrected age, preterm infants were both lighter and shorter than term controls and the absolute fat-free mass deficit remained until this age. Little effect of nutrition on body composition was observed.

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