Can Ultrasound Measures of Muscle and Adipose Tissue Thickness Predict Body Composition of Premature Infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit?

Emily Nagel, Marie Hickey, Levi Teigen, Adam Kuchnia, Tara Holm, Carrie Earthman, Ellen Demerath, Sara Ramel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Premature infants are at risk for adverse metabolic and neurodevelopmental outcomes due to growth alterations in early infancy. Monitoring body composition by tracking gains in fat mass (FM) and fat-free mass (FFM) may assist clinicians in preventing obesity and metabolic disease while promoting optimal growth and development. A prospective, observational study was conducted to determine the ability of ultrasound (US) measurements of muscle and adipose tissue thickness to predict whole-body composition (FFM, FM, percent body fat [%BF]). Methods: Sixty-three healthy premature infants were recruited from the University of Minnesota's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Anthropometric measurements, air displacement plethysmography, and US measurements of abdomen, biceps, and quadriceps muscle and of adipose tissue thickness were conducted when infants were medically stable. The relationship between US measurements and body composition was assessed using stepwise linear regression analysis. Results: In linear regression analyses, biceps adipose and the sum of adipose thickness measurements were significant predictors of %BF, but prediction models had low R2 (0.17 and 0.16, respectively) and high root-mean-square error. US measurements of muscle thickness were not predictive of whole-body FFM. Conclusion: US measurements of muscle and adipose tissue thickness at the examined sites are not adequate surrogates for whole-body composition in preterm infants. Exploration of alternate measurement sites may improve predictive ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-330
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial disclosure: This study was funded by grant support from the Gerber Foundation and the Healthy Foods Healthy Lives Institute at the University of Minnesota.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition

Keywords

  • body composition
  • nutrition assessment
  • pediatrics

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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