Growth failure and altered body composition are established by one month of age in infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia

Raye Ann O DeRegnier*, Theresa W. Guilbert, Marla M. Mills, Michael K. Georgieff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Long-term growth failure and altered body composition are common consequences of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). We hypothesized that these chronic findings are preceded by uncompensated, acute early growth failure. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of developing bronchopulmonary dysplasia on body composition and growth of very-low-birth- weight (VLBW) infants during the first six postnatal weeks. Arm muscle and fat accretion and changes in weight, length and head circumference were evaluated in 16 very-low-birth-weight infants who developed bronchopulmonary dysplasia and compared with 16 birth-weight-matched control infants without bronchopulmonary dysplasia. During the 1st wk, both groups experienced similarly low nutritional intakes, wasting of arm muscle and fat stores, and reduced weight, length and head circumference growth velocities, compared with intrauterine growth standards. Between wk 2 and 4, infants with developing bronchopulmonary dysplasia consumed less protein and energy (P < 0.05), accreted less arm fat and muscle (P < 0.05), and grew more slowly than control infants in all measured variables (P < 0.05). When infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia had achieved full enteral feedings and had similar protein-energy intakes to control infants, they demonstrated similar rates of growth and arm muscle and fat accretion, but did not demonstrate catch-up growth. These data support the speculation that early reductions in muscle and fat accretion and growth velocity contribute to the long-term growth failure in infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Prevention may require greater attention to defining and delivering optimal nutritional therapy to physiologically unstable premature infants in the immediate postnatal period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-175
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1996


  • bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • fat accretion
  • growth
  • humans
  • muscle accretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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