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Newborn and Infant Care

Small head circumference & brain damage, etc

05/01/2007

Question:

We are considering the referral of a baby girl from Korea. Our adoption agency has classified her as healthy, but our international adopton specialist was VERY concerned about her small head circumference.

She was full term at 40 weeks, normal vaginal delivery. Apgars of 7 & 9. Her birth weight was 5lbs. 5 oz. , Length was 19.6 in. Head Circ: 12.75inch 2 months weight: 11.0lbs Length: 20.86in Head circ: 14.17 She is now almost 4 months old weighs 13.2lbs. Length: 22.4 inches, but her head circumference: 14.56

The Dr. termed her as having microcephaly - should we be concerned? We are considerig turning down this referral since we are not able to care for a special needs child, but it looks to us like she is growing consistently.

We have asked for a 2nd opinion from another specialist, but are trying to gather as many opinions and thoughts (and resources, and info) as possible.

Thank you VERY much for your help!

Answer:

Microcephaly may be caused by several factors:

PRIMARY

SECONDARY

Out of these possible causes, benign familial microcephaly is the only cause I could locate that is not definitely associated with a child that would require special medical, social, and educational services.

Source: Dershewitz, R.A. (Ed.). (1999). Ambulatory pediatric care (3rd ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven. P 764-766.

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Response by:

Sarah Sauntry, RN, MS, CPNP-PC
Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati