The course of skull deformation from birth to 5 years of age: a prospective cohort study

Leo A van Vlimmeren, Raoul HH Engelbert, Maaike Pelsma, Hans MM Groenewoud, Magda M Boere-Boonekamp, Maria WG Nijhuis-van der Sanden

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Abstract

In a continuation of a prospective longitudinal cohort study in a healthy population on the course of skull shape from birth to 24 months, at 5 years of age, 248 children participated in a follow-up assessment using plagiocephalometry (ODDI-oblique diameter difference index, CPI-cranio proportional index). Data from the original study sampled at birth, 7 weeks, 6, 12, and 24 months were used in two linear mixed models.

MAIN FINDINGS: (1) if deformational plagiocephaly (ODDI <104%) and/or positional preference at 7 weeks of age are absent, normal skull shape can be predicted at 5 years of age; (2) if positional preference occurs, ODDI is the highest at 7 weeks and decreases to a stable lowest value at 2 and 5 years of age; and (3) regarding brachycephaly, all children showed the highest CPI at 6 months of age with a gradual decrease over time.

CONCLUSION: The course of skull deformation is favourable in most of the children in The Netherlands; at 5 years of age, brachycephaly is within the normal range for all children, whereas the severity of plagiocephaly is within the normal range in 80%, within the mild range in 19%, and within the moderate/severe range in 1%. Medical consumption may be reduced by providing early tailored counselling. What is Known: • Skull deformation prevalence increased after recommendations against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, little is known about the longitudinal course. • Paediatric physical therapy intervention between 2 and 6 months of age reduces deformational plagiocephaly at 6 and 12 months of age. What is New: • The course of skull deformation is favourable in most of the children in The Netherlands; at 5 years of age, deformational brachycephaly is within the normal range for all children, whereas the severity of deformational plagiocephaly is within the normal range in 80%, within the mild range in 19%, and within the moderate to severe range in only 1%. • Paediatric physical therapy intervention does not influence the long-term outcome; it only influences the earlier decrease of the severity of deformational plagiocephaly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-21
JournalEuropean journal of pediatrics
Volume176
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2016

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