OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the association between severity of cerebral palsy (CP) and growth to 6 to 7 years of age among children with moderate to severe (Mod/Sev) hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). It was hypothesized that children with Mod/Sev CP would have poorer growth, lower cognitive scores, and increased rehospitalization rates compared with children with no CP (No CP).

METHODS:

Among 115 of 122 surviving children followed in the hypothermia trial for neonatal HIE, growth parameters and neurodevelopmental status at 18 to 22 months and 6 to 7 years were available. Group comparisons (Mod/Sev CP and No CP) with unadjusted and adjusted analyses for growth <10th percentile and z scores by using Fisher’s exact tests and regression modeling were conducted.

RESULTS:

Children with Mod/Sev CP had high rates of slow growth and cognitive and motor impairment and rehospitalizations at 18 to 22 months and 6 to 7 years. At 6 to 7 years of age, children with Mod/Sev CP had increased rates of growth parameters <10th percentile compared with those with No CP (weight, 57% vs 3%; height, 70% vs 2%; and head circumference, 82% vs 13%; P < .0001). Increasing severity of slow growth was associated with increasing age (P < .04 for weight, P < .001 for length, and P < .0001 for head circumference). Gastrostomy feeds were associated with better growth.

CONCLUSIONS:

Term children with HIE who develop Mod/Sev CP have high and increasing rates of growth <10th percentile by 6 to 7 years of age. These findings support the need for close medical and nutrition management of children with HIE who develop CP.

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