Anthropometrics and fat mass, but not fat-free mass, are compromised in infants requiring parenteral nutrition after neonatal intestinal surgery

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BACKGROUND: Children with intestinal failure (IF) receiving long-term parenteral nutrition (PN) have altered body composition (BC), but data on BC changes from start of PN onwards are lacking. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to assess growth and BC in infants after neonatal intestinal surgery necessitating PN and at risk of IF, and to explore associations with clinical parameters. METHODS: A prospective cohort study in infants after intestinal surgery. IF was defined as PN dependency for >60 d. SD scores (SDS) for anthropometry were calculated until 6-mo corrected age. In a subgroup, fat mass (FM) and fat-free mass (FFM) were measured with air-displacement plethysmography at 2- and 6-mo corrected age. SDS for length-adjusted FM index and FFM index were calculated. Associations between cumulative amount of PN and BC parameters were analyzed with linear mixed-effect models. RESULTS: Ninety-five neonates were included (54% male, 35% born <32 wk) and 39 infants (41%) had IF. Studied infants had compromised anthropometric parameters during follow-up. At 6-mo corrected age, they remained smaller (median weight-for-age SDS -0.9 [IQR -1.5, 0.1], P < 0.001) than the normal population. In 57 infants, 93 BC measurements were performed. FM index SDS was lower than in healthy infants at 2- and 6-mo corrected age (-0.9 [-1.6, -0.3], P < 0.001 and -0.7 [-1.3, 0.1], P = 0.001, respectively), but FFM index SDS did not differ. A higher cumulative amount of PN predicted a higher FM index in female infants but lower FM index in male infants. CONCLUSIONS: In this cohort of infants receiving PN after intestinal surgery, compromised anthropometrics, decreased FM, and adequate FFM were observed during the first 6 mo. Male and female infants seemed to respond differently to PN when it comes to FM index. Continuing growth monitoring after the age of 6 mo is strongly recommended, and further research should explore the benefit of incorporating ongoing BC monitoring during follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-513
Number of pages11
JournalThe American journal of clinical nutrition
Issue number2
Early online date4 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2022


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