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Cardiac effects of growth hormone in short normal children: results after four years of treatment.
  1. P E Daubeney,
  2. E S McCaughey,
  3. C Chase,
  4. J M Walker,
  5. Z Slavik,
  6. P R Betts,
  7. S A Webber
  1. Southampton University Hospitals Trust, Wessex Cardiothoracic Centre.


    Growth hormone excess is known to have adverse effects on the heart. The long term cardiac effects of growth hormone given to short normal children as part of a prospective randomised controlled trial of growth hormone treatment (Genotropin 30 IU/m2/week v no treatment) were therefore investigated. Echocardiographic findings are presented for 28 children who have been followed up for a minimum of four years. At the outset, the treated (n = 15) and untreated groups (n = 13) did not differ for any anthropometric or echocardiographic parameter. Their mean (SD) age at onset was 7.8 (0.5) years. After four years of treatment mean height SD score increased from -2.4 to -1.2 compared with no change (-2.5) in the untreated group. Left ventricular posterior wall and septal thickness and left ventricular shortening fraction did not differ between the groups, but a tendency towards increased left ventricular mass was seen in the treatment group (93 v 73 g). No such differential was observed after indexing left ventricular mass for body surface area (79 v 71 g/m2) or lean body mass (3.15 v 3.05 g/kg). It is concluded that prolonged growth hormone treatment does not cause important changes to the heart. A tendency towards increased left ventricular mass simply reflects the increase in lean body mass during treatment.

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