Background: The present survey among members of the ESPE on current practice in diagnosis and treatment of growth hormone (GH) deficiency (GHD) is of great clinical relevance and importance in the light of the recently published guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of GHD by the Growth Hormone Research Society. We have found much conformity but also numerous discrepancies between the recommendations of the Growth Hormone Research Society and the current practice in Europe. Results: We found that 80% of the pediatric endocrinologists included insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) in their initial evaluation of a short child suspected of having GHD, whereas only 22% used GH provocative testing alone in the initial evaluation of a short child. Sixty-eight percent confirmed the diagnosis of GHD using two separate provocative tests. In the present survey cutoff values for GH provocative testing clustered around two values; 10 ng/ml and 20 mU/l. Interestingly, these two values, differing by a factor of 2, were also the most prevalent cutoff values among those who reported their assay to be calibrated against the WHO International Reference Preparation 80/505 where the conversion factor between milligrams and milliunits is 2.6. This suggests that the selection of cutoff values is based on tradition rather than on specific GH assay characteristics. In addition, only 63% of the respondents actually knew what GH assay they were using, and only 57% knew how their GH assay was calibrated. Dosing of GH at the start of treatment was reported according to body surface by 39%, whereas 59% were dosing according to body weight. GH dose adjustment was primarily based on growth response and height during auxological assessment every 3-4 months (height velocity, change in height velocity or change in height standard deviation scores) as indicated by almost 70% of the respondents. However, dose adjustment according to body surface (38%) and body weight (44%) was also quite common. Sixty-five percent measures IGF-I regularly (at least once a year) during GH therapy in children, and to our surprise 17% reported that they adjust the GH dose according to the IGF-I levels. Summary: In summary, we have found large heterogeneity in the current practice of diagnosis and treatment of childhood GHD among European pediatric endocrinologists. Especially standardizations of GH assays and cutoff values are urgently required to ensure a uniform and correct diagnosis and therapy of GHD in the future. Copyright

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Hormone Research
Department of Pediatrics

Juul, A, Bernasconi, S, Clayton, P, Kieß, W, & de Muinck Keizer-Schrama, S.M.P.F. (2002). European audit of current practice in diagnosis and treatment of childhood growth hormone deficiency. Hormone Research, 58(5), 233–241. doi:10.1159/000066265