What is Failure to Thrive?

Normally, children grow and develop quickly in the first few years of their life.  Failure to Thrive, otherwise known as FTT, occurs when children are not growing and developing at the standard rate.  FTT is not a disease or disorder, but rather a sign that the child is undernourished by not consuming enough calories, by not absorbing calories, or by not using calories correctly.

What causes Failure to Thrive?

Failure to Thrive can be caused by a wide variety of things, ranging from eating issues to illnesses.  Eating issues can be caused by the insufficient amount of food being offered to the child due to incorrect formula measurements, breastfeeding issues, or solid food transition problems.  The child could also eat too few calories due to prematurity, developmental delay or disorders.  Illnesses can make it painful or difficult for the child to eat, remove nutrients from the body, or cause sensitivity to food. Digestive system illnesses could also cause FTT to occur, including gastroesophageal reflux, chronic diarrhea, cystic fibrosis, chronic liver disease or celiac disease.

What are the symptoms of Failure to Thrive?

Some symptoms of Failure to Thrive include:

What are the long-term consequences of Failure to Thrive?

If FTT is diagnosed quickly, normal growth and development can return to the child.  Failure to Thrive begins to affect children when it goes undiagnosed and untreated for an extended period.  Ultimately, poor nutrition when the brain is quickly growing during the first year can cause lifelong growth and development problems.

How is Failure to Thrive diagnosed?

The most common way to diagnose FTT is by analyzing feeding habits, growth charts, and health history.  Typically, if a child does not gain wait for three months during the first year, it could indicate possible FTT.  If necessary, additional medical testing, such as the Denver developmental screen test, blood work, hormone studies, radiographs or urinalysis, can also be conducted to show any delays in growth and development,

How is Failure to Thrive treated?

Treatment for Failure to Thrive depends on the cause of the delayed growth and development issue.  A team of primary care doctors, dietitians, occupational therapists, speech therapists, social workers or other specialists will work together to determine the appropriate treatment.  Common treatments include making sure the child receives enough calories to grow through high calorie foods or formulas.  Additionally, new eating habits could be recommended to introduce certain textures, to space out meals, or to avoid empty calories.  Severe cases of FTT could require a feeding tube that provides liquid nutrition by running through the nose directly into the stomach.  Extreme FTT cases could require hospital treatment.

RSVP Home Care provides feeding tubes, nutrients and other durable medical equipment in Northern Kentucky to assist children suffering from FTT.  Our team of experienced respiratory therapists can work hand-in-hand with your healthcare professional team to determine the right medical equipment to help your child overcome FTT.  Do not hesitate to contact us today to see how we can help!