Reduced body cell mass following severe head injury in children: Implications for rehabilitation

Littlewood, R. A., Wotton, M., Trocki, O., Shepherd, Ross William and Shepherd, Karin (1999) Reduced body cell mass following severe head injury in children: Implications for rehabilitation. Paediatric Rehabilitation, 3 3: 95-99. doi:10.1080/136384999289504

Author Littlewood, R. A.
Wotton, M.
Trocki, O.
Shepherd, Ross William
Shepherd, Karin
Title Reduced body cell mass following severe head injury in children: Implications for rehabilitation
Journal name Paediatric Rehabilitation   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1363-8491
Publication date 1999-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/136384999289504
Volume 3
Issue 3
Start page 95
End page 99
Total pages 5
Editor Henry Stonnington
David Johnson
Donald Currie
Chris Johnson
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Language eng
Subject C1
321205 Nutrition and Dietetics
730215 Nutrition
Formatted abstract
Statement of purpose: Increased proteolysis, muscle catabolism and altered body composition have been well documented after severe head injury, but the extent of these effects in children, and whether they extend into rehabilitation, have not been studied. This study determined nutritional status and body composition, with particular reference to the body cell mass (BCM), of head injured children at entry into a rehabilitation programme, and compared body composition analysis with anthropometric nutritional assessment.

Methods: Nineteen head injured children (nine males, 10 females, mean age 9.1 ± 4.3 years range 1.2-15.1 years) were measured for height, weight and total body potassium (TBK, a measure of body cell mass) on referral to rehabilitation after the acute phase (mean 38.1 days post-injury). Data was compared with expected normative data derived from healthy age and gender matched children. Nutritional status was determined by two separate criteria based on either anthropometric or body composition methods.

Results: The mean percentage of expected TBK for height was 84.4 ± 15%, significantly below the clinically acceptable level for body cell mass (90% of expected). Using the anthropometric definition, only 1/19 was undernourished, whereas 12/19 had poor nutritional status using body composition (χ2 = 7.58, p = 0.006).

Conclusions: The data revealed a significant depletion in the metabolically active BCM in the presence of normal anthropometry, suggestive of significant muscle wasting. These findings have important pathophysiological and clinical implications in the rehabilitation of children following major head trauma.
© 1999 Taylor & Francis Ltd
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Medicine Publications
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Created: Wed, 11 Jun 2008, 00:44:55 EST