Birth weight and head circumference discordance and outcome in preterms: results from the EPIPAGE-2 cohort

Arch Dis Child. 2024 May 17;109(6):503-509. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2023-326336.


Objective: To determine whether the relative measurement of birth weight (BW) and head circumference (HC) in preterm infants is associated with neurological outcomes.

Methods: The EPIPAGE-2 Study included 3473 infants born before 32 weeks' gestation, classified based on their Z-score of BW and HC on the Fenton curves as concordant (≤1 SD apart) or discordant (>1 SD difference). We defined four mutually exclusive categories: discordant smaller BW (sBW) with BW<HC, discordant smaller HC (sHC) with HC<BW, concordant measurement (CM) with BW and HC concordant and both >-1SD and concordant small measurement (CsM) with BW and HC concordant and both ≤-1SD. Neurological outcomes at 5.5 years were evaluated with standard tests.

Results: 2592 (74.8%) preterm neonates were categorised as CM, 258 (7.4%) CsM, 378 (10.9%) sHC and 239 (6.9%) sBW. Compared with the CM children, those born with CsM had significantly higher risks of cognitive deficiency (adjusted OR (aOR) 1.3, 95% CI (1.0 to 2.0)), developmental coordination disorders (aOR 2.6 (1.5 to 4.4)) and need for special school services (aOR 2.3 (1.5 to 3.7)). Those born with sBW had significantly lower risk of cognitive deficiency (aOR 0.6 (0.4 to 0.9)) and the sHC group significantly higher risk of developmental coordination disorders (aOR 1.8 (1.0 to 3.2)).

Conclusions: The relative discordance of these preterm infants' BW and HC was associated with their neurological outcomes. It merits further exploration as an indirect indicator of development.

Trial registration number: NCT03078439.

Keywords: Child Development; Growth; Infant Development; Intensive Care Units, Neonatal; Neonatology.

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight*
  • Cephalometry / methods
  • Child Development / physiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Head* / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Male

Associated data