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Ni Y, Lancaster R, Suonpera E, Bernardi M, Fahy A, Larsen J, Trickett J, Hurst JR, Wolke D, Johnson S, Marlow N. Growth in extremely preterm children born in England in 1995 and 2006: the EPICure studies. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2021 Jul 13:fetalneonatal-2020-321107.

Objectives: To determine growth outcomes at 11 years of age in children born <27 weeks of gestation in England in 2006 (EPICure2) and to compare growth from birth to 11 years of age for births<26 weeks with those in England in 1995 (EPICure).

Methods: 200 EPICure2 children assessed at 11 years alongside 143 term-born controls. Growth measures from birth to 11 years were compared for births<26 weeks between EPICure2 (n=112) and EPICure (n=176). Growth parameter z-scores were derived from 1990 UK standards.

Results: Among EPICure2 children, mean z-scores for height and weight were close to the population standards (0.08 and 0.18 SD, respectively) but significantly below those of controls: difference in mean (Δ) z-scores for weight -0.42 SD (95% CI -0.68 to -0.17), for height -0.45 SD (-0.70 to -0.20) and for head circumference (HC) -1.05 SD (-1.35 to -0.75); mean body mass index (BMI) z-score in EPICure2 children was 0.18 SD, not significantly different from controls (0.43 SD, p=0.065). Compared with EPICure, EPICure2 children born <26 weeks at 11 years had higher z-scores for weight (Δ 0.72 (0.47, 0.96)), height (Δ 0.55 (0.29, 0.81)) and BMI (Δ 0.56 (0.24, 0.87)), which were not fully explained by perinatal/demographic differences between eras. Weight catch-up was greater from term-age to 2.5/3 years in EPICure2 than in EPICure (1.25 SD vs 0.53 SD; p<0.001). Poor HC growth was observed in EPICure2, unchanged from EPICure.

Conclusions: Since 1995, childhood growth in weight, height and BMI have improved for births <26 weeks of gestation, but there was no improvement in head growth.

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