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Failure to Thrive

Failure to Thrive is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Not a single disease, but a description of a group of symptoms
  • Inadequate physical growth:
    • Usually diagnosed earlier than age 2 yr
  • Broadly divided into:
    • Organic (underlying medical condition)
    • Nonorganic (no underlying medical condition)
  • Found in all socioeconomic groups
  • Poverty increases risk of failure to thrive (FTT)
  • May result in long-term growth, behavioral, and developmental difficulties, particularly in children who fail to thrive in the first few months of life


Many diseases with unique causes resulting in 1 or more of:
  • Inadequate caloric intake
  • Inadequate caloric absorption, malabsorption
  • Excessive caloric expenditure
  • These may be secondary to underlying chronic disease

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Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Failure to Thrive." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307357/all/Failure_to_Thrive.
Failure to Thrive. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307357/all/Failure_to_Thrive. Accessed April 23, 2019.
Failure to Thrive. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307357/all/Failure_to_Thrive
Failure to Thrive [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 23]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307357/all/Failure_to_Thrive.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Failure to Thrive ID - 307357 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307357/all/Failure_to_Thrive PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -