Background: Achondroplasia is a skeletal dysplasia with extreme, disproportionate, short stature.
Aim: In a 5-y growth hormone (GH) treatment study including 1 y without treatment, we investigated growth and body proportion response in 35 children with achondroplasia.
Methods: Patients were randomized to either 0.1 IU/kg (n = 18) or 0.2 IU/kg (n = 17) per day. GH treatment was interrupted for 12 mo after 2 y of treatment in prepubertal patients to study catch-down growth. Mean height SDS (HSDS) at start was -5.6 and -5.2 for the low- and high-dose groups, respectively, and mean age 7.3 and 6.6 y.
Results: Mean growth velocity (baseline 4.5/4.6 cm/y for the groups) increased significantly by 1.9/3.6 cm/y during the first year and by 0.5/1.5 cm/y during the second year. During the third year, a decrease of growth velocity was observed at 1.9/1.3 cm/y below baseline values. HSDS increased significantly by 0.6/0.8 during the first year of treatment and in total by 1.3/1.6 during the 5 y of study. Sitting height SDS improved significantly from -2.1/-1.7 to -0.8/0.2 during the study. Body proportion (sitting height/total height) or arm span did not show any significant change.
Conclusion: GH treatment of children with achondroplasia improves height during 4 y of therapy without adverse effect on trunk-leg disproportion. The short-term effect is comparable to that reported in Turner and Noonan syndrome and in idiopathic short stature.