Pediatric Non-Organic Failure to Thrive

Pediatric Non-Organic Failure to Thrive

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Summary

Non-organic failure to thrive means a child, typically under 2 years old, has stunted growth for no known medical reason.

Expanded overview

Non-organic failure to thrive (NOFTT) means a child, typically under 2 years old, has stunted growth for no known medical reason. The child will measure below the fifth percentile for height and weight standards, or show a marked decrease in weight.

To receive the NOFTT diagnosis, physicians will rule out a number of possible medical causes, including severe food allergies, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) and conditions like cystic fibrosis.  

Causes

After ruling out a medical possibility, the cause may be discovered to be an economic, psychological or social problem within the household.

Symptoms

NOFTT is marked by low weight and small height, or significant weight loss. Additional symptoms are related to delays in development, including:

  • Avoids eye contact
  • Doesn’t make sounds
  • Delayed mental and age-appropriate social skills (smile or laugh)
  • Delayed motor development and physical skills, including rolling over, sitting, standing or walking
  • Easily tired and sleeps too much
  • Irritable

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