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Should short children born small for gestational age with a distance to target height <1 standard deviation score be excluded from growth hormone treatment?

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Summary Context 

The criteria for starting growth hormone (GH), an approved treatment for short children born small for gestational age (SGA), differ between Europe and the USA. One European requirement for starting GH, a distance to target height (DTH) of ≥1 standard deviation score (SDS), is controversial. Objective 

To investigate the influence of DTH on growth during GH treatment in short SGA children and to ascertain whether it is correct to exclude children with a DTH <1 SDS from GH. Patients 

A large group of short prepubertal SGA children (baseline n = 446; 4 years GH n = 215). Measurements 

We analysed the prepubertal growth response during 4 years of GH. We investigated the influence of the continuous variable DTH SDS on growth response and a possible DTH SDS cut-off level below which point the growth response is insufficient. Results 

Height gain SDS during 4 years of GH showed a wide variation at every DTH SDS level. Multiple regression analyses demonstrated that, after correction for other significant variables, an additional DTH of 1 SDS resulted in 0ยท13 SDS more height gain during 4 years of GH. We found no significant differences in height gain below and above certain DTH SDS cut-off levels. Conclusions 

DTH SDS had a weak positive effect on height gain during 4 years of GH, while several other determinants had much larger effects. We found no support for using any DTH cut-off level. Based on our data, excluding children with a DTH <1 SDS from GH treatment is not justified.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Paediatrics, Division of Endocrinology, Sophia Children’s Hospital, Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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