Differential classification of infants in United States neonatal intensive care units for weight, length, and head circumference by United States and international growth curves
Analytics and Data Science Institute
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Background: Clinicians and researchers use a variety of intrauterine growth curves to classify NICU infants as small (SGA), appropriate (AGA), or large for gestational age (LGA). Since curve creation methods and samples vary, SGA/AGA/LGA cut-offs and resulting subgroups of infants vary among curves and impact outcome study findings - limiting generalisability. Aim: Determine how two international and two US-specific curves classified US NICU infants. Subjects and methods: Classified 192,888 infants from US NICUs (2013–2016) as SGA or LGA for birthweight, length, and head circumference, using the international Fenton and INTERGROWTH-21st curves and US-specific Olsen and Lubchenco (historical) curves. Results: Modern curves classified approximately 10% of infants as SGA up to 32 weeks, but older infants had increased variability. The INTERGROWTH-21st curves consistently had rates above 10% for LGA after 32 weeks. Conclusions: While Olsen and Fenton both fit, the Olsen curves had overall best-fit for our sample of US NICU infants. The INTERGROWTH-21st curves fit the definitions for SGA and LGA for younger ages, but inferences outside of these definitions are unwarranted due to limited sample size. The INTERGROWTH-21st sample used for 33 weeks and older infants was physically smaller at the upper percentiles than our sample of US infants.
Annals of Human Biology
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