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Estimation of body surface area in various childhood ages – validation of the Mosteller formula

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Aim:  The aim of the present study was to validate the Mosteller formula for the estimation of body surface area (BSA) in various childhood ages. Many physiological processes including drug metabolism correlate with values for BSA. In addition, dosing of many drugs, especially drugs with low therapeutic index, for example, anti‐neoplastics, are based on estimated values of BSA.

Methods:  Published data from measured BSA in 268 children and infants (median age: 8 month; range: 0–18 years) were compared with BSA values estimated by the Mosteller formula. Correlation between estimated and measured BSA values was performed by the Spearman rank correlation. Bias and precision were evaluated as outlined by Sheiner and Beal. Measured and estimated BSA values were compared by the Eksborg’s plot.

Results:  Measured values of BSA and BSA values estimated by the Mosteller formula were closely correlated (rs = 0.973; p < 0.0001). The formula of Mosteller had with a precision of 9.38% and underestimated BSA by 4.06%. The quotients Estimated/Measured BSA were within the range 0.9–1.1 in 71.3% of the observations, but deviation up to 35% occurred.

Conclusion:  The Mosteller formula underestimates BSA in the paediatric population and must be used with precautions because of low precision, most pronounced in neonates and infants.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Childhood Cancer Research Unit, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Publication date: 2012-05-01

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