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Growth and survival of low birthweight infants from 0 to 9 years in a rural area of Ghana. Comparison of moderately low (1501–2000 g) and very low birthweight (1000–1500 g) infants and a local reference population

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Summary

This prospective and descriptive study was conducted to evaluate the growth and survival of 105 low birthweight (LBW, 1000–2000 g) infants discharged during a 4-year period from Agogo Hospital, Ghana, and followed from birth until the age of 4–9 years. Thirty-two babies were very low birthweight children (VLBW, 1000–1500 g) and 73 (70%) were of moderately low birthweight (MLBW, 1501–2000 g). At the age of 3 years, 15 children (14.2%) had not come for follow-up; of the remaining 90 children, nine (10%) had died, five during the first 3 months of life. At follow-up from 4 to 9 years of age, two more children could not be traced and another two had died. Compared to a local reference population and the WHO standard, growth of survivors lagged behind and caught up only slightly during the first 3 years of life. From 3 to 9 years of age, median growth impairment increased, which either suggests impaired growth potential or poor health and inadequate nutrition. This long-term study confirms that LBW (1000–2000 g) infants, particularly VLBW children, are at high risk.
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Keywords: (very) low birthweight; Ghana; follow-up; growth potential of (V)LBW infants; infants

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Paediatric Department, Agogo Hospital (Presbyterian Church of Ghana), Agogo, Ghana 2: University Hospital, Groningen, The Netherlands 3: Department of Obstetrics & Paediatrics, Perinatal Nutrition and Development Section, University Hospital, Groningen, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2000-08-01

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