Are low birth weight neonates at risk for suboptimal renal growth and function during infancy?

Authors : Iyengar A, Nesargi 2, George 3, Sinha 3, Selvam S, Luyckx VA

Publication Year : 2016

Abstract :


To assess the renal growth and function of neonates during infancy in relation to birth weight and gestational age.


A longitudinal study was conducted at a tertiary hospital in South India from June 2010 to August 2014. Low birth weight neonates (LBW) were further sub-classified based on gestational age and compared with normal birth weight (NBW) full term neonates at birth, 6 months and 18-24months of age. The renal volume was measured by ultrasound and renal function by Cystatin C- derived glomerular filtration rate (CysGFR) at the three time points during the dynamic phase of renal maturation in infancy.


We recruited 100 LBW and 66 NBW term neonates. Thirty five percent of the LBW neonates were SGA. Among the AGA neonates, 39 % were LBW neonates. The mean height and weight of the LBW neonates were significantly lower compared to NBW neonates throughout infancy. The increment in kidney volume was in accordance with the change in body size, being lower in LBW compared to NBW infants. The combined kidney volume was significantly lower in LBW and SGA neonates across all three time points (p?less than?0.001). CysGFR in the LBW and SGA infants, despite having low kidney volumes, were comparable to the GFRs of NBW and AGA neonates at the end of infancy.


This study highlights the fact that both birth weight and gestational age influence kidney growth and function in infancy. At the end of infancy, despite a significant difference in kidney volumes and age at last follow up, the glomerular filtration rate was comparable between LBW and NBW infants. Though not statistically significant, there was a trend towards higher urine microalbumin in LBW compared to NBW in infancy.