Direct evidence for calcium and trace mineral deficits in the skeleton of pre-term infants

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Abstract

To document quantitatively the way bone growth of preterm infants differs from intrauterine growth, the right femurs of fresh stillbirths and neonatal and late postnatal deaths have been analysed for calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc by atomic absorption spectro-photometry. These analyses show that the intrauterine accumulation of these elements between 22 and 40 weeks gestation can be described by a simple exponential equation. Analysis of bones from infants dying within the first 7 days are not materially different from those of infants dying within 24 hours of birth but later neonatal deaths show significant deficits in each substance when compared with infants dying in the first week. This trend confirms the findings of earlier balance studies showing inadequate absorption of calcium and also raises the possibility of magnesium, copper and zinc deficiency in preterm infants.

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Mcintosh, N., Shaw, J. & Taghizadeh, A. Direct evidence for calcium and trace mineral deficits in the skeleton of pre-term infants. Pediatr Res 8, 896 (1974) doi:10.1203/00006450-197411000-00020

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