Measuring growth in critically ill neonates and children.

Document Type


Publication Date



DOI: 10.1002/ncp.11057


Critical illness increases the risk of malnutrition in both infants and children. Malnutrition risk is multifactorial and includes premorbid factors as well as changes in nutrient metabolism and energy demands during critical illness. Inadequate nutrition has been linked to poor health outcomes and prolonged length of stay in the intensive care unit, demonstrating the importance of both recognizing and addressing malnutrition in this population. Assessing growth and identifying malnutrition requires methodical measurement of growth and a collaborative, multimodal approach to nutrition assessment. Among the nutrition assessment and growth evaluation tools, neonatal, preterm, pediatric, and disease-specific growth charts remain an important component of growth assessment and should be used along with a nutrition-focused physical examination. Routine measurement promotes the identification of potential growth delays that may require interventions. Indirect calorimetry adds an additional layer of detail for a complete picture of each infant or child's unique nutrition status and progress. Quality improvement research on a national level is urgently needed to assess the adequacy and availability of resources in neonatal and pediatric critical care units and to further the development of standard clinical outcome measures for nutrition assessment and intervention in the critically ill neonate and child.

Journal Title

Nutrition in clinical practice : official publication of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition




Suppl 2

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MeSH Keywords

Infant; Infant, Newborn; Humans; Child; Critical Illness; Nutritional Status; Malnutrition; Nutrition Assessment; Growth Disorders; Intensive Care Units, Pediatric


critical care; growth charts; malnutrition; newborn infants; nutrition assessment; pediatrics; premature infants

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