Growth–including linear growth and growth velocity–is an important indicator of infant, child, and adolescent health. Therefore, accurate growth assessment is essential for evaluating a pediatric patient’s overall health, as well as identifying a growth variant associated with short stature. Despite its importance, many pediatricians and pediatric nursing professionals are unfamiliar with best practices for measuring and documenting growth. In addition to using equipment and techniques that result in inaccurate measurements, pediatric clinicians may not be using the most appropriate growth charts to track growth data.
This activity will review the optimal ways of assessing and managing a child with a possible growth variant. It will help clinicians to differentiate between the child with a normal growth variant, such as familial short stature, and a variant linked to a disorder, such as hypothyroidism or Turner syndrome. The faculty will discuss how to distinguish between the child who requires little more than a thorough history, measurement, and physical examination, followed by careful monitoring, and the patient who requires additional diagnostic tests. The program will review the content of clinical practice guidelines that provide valuable, detailed direction about the assessment and management of children with growth variants.
Most children with growth variants can be managed successfully within a pediatric practice, although those whose variants are linked to a disorder may require co-management by pediatric subspecialists, such as endocrinologists or gastroenterologists. Even when a child has a complex disorder that requires management by a large specialty team, the pediatrician and pediatric nursing professional continue to play a key role in patient care. Again, clinical practice guidelines provide valuable, practical information about effective co-management approaches. While successful collaboration between pediatricians/pediatric nursing professionals and subspecialists is often challenging, it is critical for optimizing patient outcomes.