Association of Neonatal Antibiotic Exposure with Long-Term Growth Trajectory Faltering in Preterm-Birth Children

Yung Chieh Lin, Chi Hsiang Chu, Yen Kuang Lin, Chih Chia Chen, Li Wen Chen, Chao Ching Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Preterm neonates often receive a variety of duration of antibiotic exposure during admission. The aim of the study was to evaluate whether neonatal antibiotic exposure is relevant with longitudinal growth problems in preterm-birth children. Methods: This prospective study enrolled 481 infants who were born <32 weeks of gestation, discharged, and longitudinally followed from corrected age (CA) 6–60 months. After excluding 153 infants with blood culture-confirmed bacteremia, necrotizing enterocolitis, severe cerebral palsy, intestinal ostomy, and congenital anomaly, 328 infants were included for analysis. Covariates included perinatal demographics, neonatal morbidities, extrauterine growth restriction, and antibiotic exposure accumulated by term equivalent age. The primary outcome was the anthropometric trajectories in z-score of bodyweight (zBW), body height (zBH), and body mass index (zBMI) from CA 6–60 months. Results: Antibiotic exposure duration was significantly negatively associated with zBW and zBH at CA 6, 12, and 60 months, and zBMI at CA 60 months. Multivariate generalized estimating equation analyses showed antibiotic exposure duration had significantly faltering z-score increment from CA 6 to 60 months in zBW and zBH (adjusted mean [95% CI]; ΔzBW: −0.021 [−0.041 to −0.001], p = 0.042; ΔzBH: −0.019 [−0.035 to −0.002], p = 0.027) after adjustment. Children with neonatal antibiotic exposure duration >15 days were significantly lower in the mean anthropometric zBW, zBH, and zBMI at CA 6, 12, 24, and 60 months compared with children with neonatal antibiotic exposure ≤15 days (all p < 0.01). Conclusions: Growth increments were negatively associated with antibiotic exposure duration in preterm neonates implicating that antibiotic stewardship and growth follow-up for preterm neonates are thus warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Anthropometric outcome
  • Antibiotic exposure
  • Developmental origins of health and disease
  • Growth trajectory
  • Very preterm neonates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Biology


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