Persistent failure-to-thrive: a case study.
Lemons PK. Dodge NN.
Riley Children's Hospital, Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis 46202-5210, USA.
The inability to successfully feed a young infant or child is as worrisome to parents as it is to the health care provider. Early growth failures are likely to reflect difficulty with infant homeostasis and often respond to medical management of the physical problem that is temporarily interfering with the infant's ability to feed by mouth. In addition to medical management, however, treatment also necessitates investigation and management of behavioral problems that so universally accompany growth failure. This article presents a case study of a child who presented with poor growth and respiratory symptoms associated with nonregurgitant gastroesophageal reflux, a clinical entity that can be difficult to recognize. Although surgical management of this condition was successful, persistent failure-to-thrive continued and was seemingly recalcitrant to treatment. The use of cyproheptadine as an appetite stimulant to promote weight gain in this child is discussed with a review of the current literature regarding this pharmacologic approach to poor weight gain. A behavioral-based treatment plan is described as an alternate management method, avoiding the use of pharmacologic agents in general.