Kidney growth curves in healthy children from the third trimester of pregnancy until the age of two years. The Generation R Study
Information about growth of kidney structures in early life is limited. In a population-based prospective cohort study, from foetal life onwards, we constructed reference curves for kidney growth from the third trimester of pregnancy until early childhood, using data from 1,158 healthy children. Kidney size, defined as length, width, depth and volume, was measured in the third trimester of pregnancy and at the postnatal ages of 6 months and 24 months. Analyses were based on more than 2,500 kidney measurements. In the third trimester of pregnancy and at 6 months of age all kidney measurements were larger in boys than in girls. At 24 months of age, these gender differences were only significant for left kidney structures and right kidney length. Both groups showed trends towards smaller left kidney measurements than right kidney measurements at all ages. Gender-specific reference curves based on post-conceptional and postnatal ages were constructed for left and right kidney length, width, depth and volume. We concluded that kidney size is influenced by age and gender. Left kidney size tended to be smaller than right kidney size, except for kidney length. The reference curves can be used for assessing kidney structures by ultrasound in foetal life and early childhood.