Failure to thrive differential diagnosis
Template:Failure to thrive
It is important to differentiate failure to thrive into organic and non-organic causes. Furthermore, using the concepts of bone age, chronological age, catch up growth and catch down growth, conditions such as constitutional growth delay and familial short stature should also be considered.
Differentiating failure to thrive from other diseases
- The differential diagnoses of failure to thrive ranges from gastro-esophageal reflux disease to pediatric HIV infections.
- Measuring bone age and comparing it with chronological age can help the physician differentiate between syndromes like constitutional growth delay and familial short stature. 
- Constitutional growth delay- patients have a low weight for age, low height for age and bone age < chronological age early on in their lives. This is followed by a growth spurt during adolescence where catch up takes place. Infants have a more severe catch down growth. 
- Familial short stature- parents have a positive family history and their bone age matches their chronological age. Children have a projected adult height that is within their anticipated adult height, based on their mid parental height.
- Chromosomal disorders- special considerations should be made when measuring infants with disorders such as trisomy 13, trisomy 21, Turner syndrome or premature infant with a history of intrauterine growth restriction.
- Catch down growth – A sudden drop over two major percentiles may be noted after an initial high rate of growth. The infant may simply be adjusting it’s growth rate to match it’s genetic potential.
- A thorough history and physical examination will help the physician to differentiate between organic and non- organic causes.
- Non-organic causes include:
- Social, psychological, and environmental factors
- Non accidental trauma – subdural hematoma
- Low socioeconomic status
- Child neglect, abuse, and poor parent-child interaction
- Poorly educated parents
- Organic causes can further be subdivided into;
- Inadequate caloric intake
- Excessive calorie expenditure
- Inadequate calorie absorption
|Inadequate calorie intake||Excessive calorie expenditure||Inadequate calorie absorption|
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