Purpose: Growth retardation is a common complication of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in children. Treatment with recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) has been used to help short children with CKD to attain a height more in keeping with their age group, but the scientific evidence regarding the effect of rhGH on final height is scarce.
Methods: Final heights of children with CKD receiving rhGH treatment (cases) were compared with final heights of a matched cohort of children with CKD that did not receive rhGH therapy (controls).
Results: Sixty-eight rhGH-treated cases (44 boys) were compared with 92 untreated controls (60 boys). Mean duration of rhGH therapy was 4.2 ± 0.9 years; rhGH dose was 0.3 ± 0.07 mg/kg/week. Height SDS at baseline was lower in rhGH-treated patients than in controls (-2.00 ± 1.02 versus -0.96 ± 1.11, p < 0.001). Baseline height SDS was significantly lower than target height SDS in both groups. Height SDS significantly improved from baseline to final height attainment in rhGH-treated patients, while it slightly decreased in controls (mean SDS variation 0.69 ± 1.05 in rhGH-treated cases versus -0.15 ± 1.2 in controls). Final height SDS was -1.25 ± 1.06 in rhGH-treated cases and -1.06 ± 1.17 in controls (p = 0.29). Target adjusted final height SDS was -0.91 ± 1.03 in rhGH-treated cases and -0.61 ± 1.17 in controls (p = 0.1).
Conclusions: Long-term rhGH therapy is able to reduce the linear growth deceleration of children with CKD, and ultimately to improve their final height, reducing the difference with target height.
Keywords: Child; Chronic kidney disease; Growth hormone; Height; Nutritional status.