PLoS ONE, 01 January 2015, Vol.10(11), p.e0142420
The evaluation of tools to accurately identify low birth weight (LBW) and/or premature newborns in resource-limited countries is a research priority. We explored the use of foot length, chest circumference, and mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) measured within 24 h as diagnostic tools for identifying newborns who are LBW, premature, or both; and compared measurements taken at birth with those taken at five days of age.An observational study was undertaken in Hoa Binh Province General Hospital, Vietnam, in ethnic minority newborns. Birth weight, foot length, chest circumference, and MUAC were measured within 24 h of birth and in a subset of 200, were repeated on day five of life. Gestational age was estimated using the New Ballard Score. Receiver Operating Characteristic curves and optimal cut-points (the point with the highest sensitivity and specificity where the sensitivity was at least 0.8) were calculated, for predicting prematurity, LBW, and both. Measurements within 24 h and at five days of life were compared.485 newborns were recruited. Chest circumference and MUAC measured within 24 h of birth were found to be highly predictive of LBW (both yielding area under the curve [AUC] of 0.98, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.96-0.99), and performed marginally better than foot length (AUC 0.94, 95%CI 0.92-0.96). The optimal cut-points for measurements within 24 h of birth were ≤ 7.4 cm for foot length; ≤ 30.4 cm for chest circumference; and ≤ 9.0 cm for MUAC. There was statistical evidence that anthropometric measurements taken within 24 h of birth were higher than measurements on day five (p〈0.02 for all anthropometric measurements) but the magnitude of these differences was small (at most 2mm).All measurements taken within 24 h of birth were good predictors of LBW, prematurity and both. Differences in measurements taken within 24 h and on day five were not clinically relevant. Further research will ensure that the application of these measures is reliable in community settings.
View full text in DOAJ