Limitations of Weight Velocity Analysis by Commercial Computer Program Growth Analyser Viewer Edition
Commercial software package “Growth Analyser Viewer Edition” (“GAVE”) aims to document, monitor and analyze growth and development in children and adolescents. Although its clinical and scientific use is widespread, there are no published studies that describe the method and its validation. We were informed that GAVE calculates the weight velocity (kg/year) at age t from the weight difference between t and 448 days earlier or at birth, divided by the time difference. We recently discussed a case of false child abuse diagnosis (Pediatric Condition Falsification), resulting in the separation of the child from its parents, in which GAVE played a negative contributing role. To prevent such inappropriate diagnoses, we analyzed GAVE from a schematic representation of the measured clinical weight curve, with precisely defined weight velocities. In conclusion, the 448 days included for weight velocity predictions by GAVE caused the erroneous outcomes. Until the necessary changes to the software are implemented and validated, we advise against the use of GAVE in infants younger than 1.5 years, if multiple weight changes occur within 448 days, and following a long-lasting weight velocity change. Our analysis suggests to discard all medical software packages that lack public description and proof of validation.