Growth hormone therapy and respiratory disorders: Long-term follow-up in PWS children

Jenny Berini, Valeria Spica Russotto, Paolo Castelnuovo, Stefania Di Candia, Luigi Gargantini, Graziano Grugni, Lorenzo Iughetti, Luigi Nespoli, Luana Nosetti, Giovanni Padoan, Alba Pilotta, Giuliana Trifiro, Giuseppe Chiumello, Alessandro Salvatoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: Adenotonsillar tissue hypertrophy and obstructive sleep apnea have been reported during short-term GH treatment in children with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). Objective: We conducted an observational study to evaluate the effects of long-term GH therapy on sleep-disordered breathing and adenotonsillar hypertrophy in children with PWS. Design: This was a longitudinal observational study. PatientsandMethods:Weevaluated 75 children with genetically confirmedPWS,ofwhom50 fulfilled the criteria and were admitted to our study. The patients were evaluated before treatment (t0), after 6 weeks (t1), after 6 months (t2), after 12 months (t3), and yearly (t4-t6) thereafter, for up to 4 years of GH therapy. The central apnea index, obstructive apnea hypopnea index (OAHI), respiratory disturbance index, and minimal blood oxygen saturation were evaluated overnight using polysomnography. We evaluated the adenotonsillar size using a flexible fiberoptic endoscope. Results: The percentage of patients with an OAHI of 1 increased from 3 to 22, 36, and 38 at t1, t4, and t6, respectively (2 12.2; P .05). We observed a decrease in the respiratory disturbance indexfrom1.4 (t0) to 0.8 (t3) (P.05)andthe centralapneaindexfrom1.2 (t0) to 0.1 (t4) (P.0001). We had to temporarily suspend treatment for 3 patients at t1, t4, and t5 because of severe obstructive sleep apnea. The percentage of patients with severe adenotonsillar hypertrophy was significantly higher at t4 and t5 than at t0. The OAHI directly correlated with the adenoid size (adjusted for age) (P .01) but not with the tonsil size and IGF-1 levels. Conclusion: Long-termGHtreatment in patients withPWSis safe; however,werecommend annual polysomnography and adenotonsillar evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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