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Estimating weight from height and MUAC (critically injured children)

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Mark Myatt

Consultant Epidemiologist, Brixton Health

Frequent user

28 Feb 2018, 09:54


I am working with government clients whose armed forces are engaged in peacekeeping (and other) actions. Infantry squads typically have paramedics trained in first response medicine.

The issue is "collateral damage" (i.e. injuries inflicted on an unintended target). The paramedics are trained and used to working with adults. The problems comes when dealing with injured children. Estimation of a child's weight is essential for the resuscitation of critically ill or injured children. Time and instruments to measure weight for deciding medication dosing and equipment selection are often unavailable. We have developed a method of estimating weight from length and MUAC. This works well in virtual testing on nutrition survey datasets. The issue is measuring length. Equipment needs to be simple, compact, robust, and light. This means tapes.

I am thinking of using crown to rump length ... measuring length from top of head (crown) to the heel with the leg fully extended. I think this will be no less accurate than measuring supine length without a height board. It has the advantage that length can be measured with the child in something close to the recovery position so as to maintain an open airway.


Does this measurement procedure seem reasonable?

Is there likely to be a systematic error in measurement (i.c. compared to supine length)?

I hope someone can help.

Mark Myatt

Consultant Epidemiologist, Brixton Health

Frequent user

1 Mar 2018, 15:04

Sorry ... meant to type "crown to heel" length. I guess muscle memory took over.

Andrew Hall

Nuritionist and parasitologist

Normal user

1 Mar 2018, 15:26

What about arm span or twice arm span measured at right angles from the ridge of the spine to the finger tips in a child in the recovery position? This paper describes how height can be estimated from arm span:

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