Patients with childhood-onset GH deficiency (GHD) are usually retested after achievement of near final height, to verify whether they need to continue GH treatment. We investigated if GH stimulation test is necessary to confirm a persistent status of GHD or if other parameters could be a reliable predictors of GHD persistence. METHODS: 164 children with idiopathic GHD (55 females and 109 males) were retested when they reached near final height using GH releasing hormone (GHRH)+arginine test or arginine alone. RESULTS: At diagnosis, 23.8% of patients showed severe GHD (GH peak at diagnosis <5 ng/ml) and 76.2% showed partial GHD (GH peak <10 ng/ml). At time of retesting, 82.1% of severe GHD and 82.4% of partial GHD patients showed transient GHD. IGF-I levels were not different between persistent (0.18±1.18 SDS) and transient GHD subjects (0.17±0.82 SDS). Furthermore, among persistent severe GHD patients only two showed very reduced levels of IGF-I (<-2.0 SDS). CONCLUSIONS: The majority of patients idiopathic GHD proved to be transient. IGF-I levels alone do not discriminate subjects with persistent from those with transient GHD. Therefore, after the end of GH substitutive treatment, a re-evaluation of GH secretion is mandatory to verify the persistence of GHD in adulthood.
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