Medical diagnoses and growth of children residing in Russian orphanages
Article first published online: 30 OCT 2007
Volume 96, Issue 12, pages 1765–1769, December 2007
How to Cite
Miller, L. C., Chan, W., Litvinova, A., Rubin, A., Tirella, L. and Cermak, S. (2007), Medical diagnoses and growth of children residing in Russian orphanages. Acta Paediatrica, 96: 1765–1769. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2007.00537.x
- Issue published online: 12 NOV 2007
- Article first published online: 30 OCT 2007
- Received 12 March 2007; revised 17 May 2007; accepted 24 August 2007.
- Intercountry adoption;
Aims: Survey the health of young children residing in Russian orphanages.
Methods: Retrospective chart review of all 193 ‘healthy’ young children (105M:88F, age range 2–72 months) residing in orphanages in Murmansk, Russia.
Results: Mothers of these institutionalized children had complex histories including chronic health problems (38%), use of tobacco (41%), alcohol (39%) and illicit drugs (7%). Frequent diagnoses of the children included rickets (21%), foetal alcohol syndrome (10%), anemia (6%), developmental delay (11% mild, 25% moderate, 28% severe), behavioural problems (60%) and ‘perinatal encephalopathy’ (46% <1 year of age). At orphanage entry, growth delays were common (underweight 34%, short stature 25%, microcephaly 34%). During orphanage residence, height z scores further decreased (p = 0.01), but head circumference improved (p < 0.0001, paired t-tests). Head circumferences increased significantly in 62% of microcephalic children. Smaller children (z score <−2) at entry exhibited more rapid growth (z score/month) for weight (+0.24 vs. −0.12, p = 0.04), height (+0.81 vs. −0.65, p = 0.0001), and head circumference (+1.02 vs. −0.10, p = 0.0004). Growth correlated with child developmental status.
Conclusions: Young institutionalized children in Murmansk have complex medical status, social histories and frequent growth and developmental delays. Anthropometric measurements—particularly head circumference—improved during orphanage residence in children who entered with more severe growth delays.