Background: Postnatal brain growth is an important predictor of neurodevelopmental outcome in preterm infants. A new reliable proxy for brain volume is cranial volume, which can be measured routinely by 3-D laser scanning. The aim of this study was to develop reference charts for normal cranial volume in newborn infants at different gestational ages starting from late preterm for both sexes. Methods: Cross-sectional cohort study in a German university hospital, including singleton, clinically stable, neonates born after 34 weeks of gestation. Cranial volume was measured in the first week of life by a validated 3-D laser scanner. Cranial volume data was modeled to calculate percentile values by gestational age and birth weight and to develop cranial volume reference charts for girls and boys separately. Results: Of the 1,703 included infants, 846 (50%) were female. Birth weights ranged from 1,370 to 4,830 grams (median 3,370). Median cranial volume ranged from 320 [interquartile range (IQR) 294–347] ml at 34 weeks to 469 [IQR 442–496] ml at 42 weeks and was higher in boys than in girls. Conclusions: This study presents the first reference charts of cranial volume which can be used in clinical practice to monitor brain growth between 34 and 42 weeks gestation in infants.
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© Copyright © 2021 Vermeulen, Burkhardt, Fritze, Roelants, Mense, Willemsen and Rüdiger.