For early detection of pathological causes of growth failure proper referral criteria are needed, as well as a thorough clinical, radiological and laboratory assessment. In this minireview we first discuss the two consensus-based and one evidence-based guidelines for referral that have been published. The evidence-based guidelines result in a sensitivity of approximately 80% at a false-positive rate of 2%. Then, relevant clues from the medical history and physical examination are reviewed, and specific investigations based on clinical suspicion listed. In the absence of abnormal clinical findings, an X-ray of the hand/wrist and a laboratory screen are usually performed. Scientific evidence for the various components of laboratory screening is scarce, but accumulated experience and theoretical considerations have led to a list of investigations that may be considered until more evidence is available.

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Hormone Research
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Oostdijk, W., Grote, F., de Muinck Keizer-Schrama, S., & Wit, J. (2009). Diagnostic approach in children with short stature. Hormone Research, 72(4), 206–217. doi:10.1159/000236082