Septic Growth Arrest

Also known as: growth arrest in the setting of neonatal sepsis

What is septic growth arrest?

Sepsis is a dangerous blood infection that typically occurs during infancy. In some cases, sepsis can cause damage to growth plates in the child’s body, leading to bones that stop growing later in life. This is known as septic growth arrest.

What causes septic growth arrest?

In septic growth arrest, bone can form across the cartilage of the growth plate and tether it in place. Growth plates in children who previously had sepsis may not have the same growth potential as other children in some cases.   

What are the symptoms of septic growth arrest?

Symptoms vary based on the severity of the growth plate arrest. Shortened bones and limbs, pain, deformity, difficulty with walking and joint movement and other symptoms are all possible outcomes of septic growth arrest. After sepsis occurs, delayed growth may not occur for many years, sometimes not until adolescence.

How can septic growth arrest affect children?

Children who had sepsis as an infant should be closely monitored for growth disturbances or deformities throughout childhood, as they are at an increased risk of growth arrest.

What are septic growth arrest treatments?

Surgery is often required to minimize the impact of septic growth arrest and to correct the deformity or limb length discrepancy caused by it.

Reviewed by: Daniel K Ruggles, DO

This page was last updated on: August 03, 2023 12:12 PM