Etiologies of short stature in a pediatric endocrine clinic in Southern Thailand

J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Nov 27;30(12):1265-1270. doi: 10.1515/jpem-2017-0205.


Background: Short stature is one of the common disorders referred for investigation of an endocrine disorder. The etiologies of short stature vary and are commonly grouped into pathological and non-pathological disorders. The objective of the study was to determine the etiologies and describe the characteristics of short stature patients who attended the Pediatric Endocrinology Clinic and to compare factors between normal variant short stature (NVSS) and growth hormone deficiency (GHD).

Methods: This was a retrospective review of 572 patients referred for evaluation of short stature between January 2004 and December 2015. Short stature was defined as height below -2 standard deviation score (SDS) by gender and age based on population data of Thai children.

Results: In total, 521 patients were identified as having short stature. NVSS was the most common etiology (44.9%) and pathological short stature was found in 35.3% of the cases, of which 21.2% had GHD. The median age at presentation of NVSS patients was 8.6 years while that of pathological short stature patients was 2.1 years (p<0.001). Patients with NVSS had significantly higher median height SDS (HSDS) than patients with pathological diseases. The common etiologies in severe short patients, defined by HSDS ≤-3, were syndromic short stature (16.2%) and GHD (14.1%). In the moderate short stature group (HSDS between -2 and -3), constitutional delay of growth and puberty (CDGP) was the most common etiology (34.1%).

Conclusions: NVSS was the most common etiology of short stature, followed by syndromic short stature and GHD. Physical examination is crucial to identify GHD from syndromic short patients.

Keywords: constitutional delay of growth and puberty; growth hormone deficiency; normal variant short stature.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Height* / physiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developmental Disabilities / complications
  • Developmental Disabilities / epidemiology
  • Dwarfism, Pituitary / complications
  • Dwarfism, Pituitary / epidemiology
  • Endocrine System Diseases / complications*
  • Endocrine System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Endocrine System Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Growth Disorders / complications
  • Growth Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Growth Disorders / etiology*
  • Human Growth Hormone / deficiency
  • Humans
  • Hypercalcemia / complications
  • Hypercalcemia / epidemiology
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Metabolic Diseases / complications
  • Metabolic Diseases / epidemiology
  • Nephrocalcinosis / complications
  • Nephrocalcinosis / epidemiology
  • Puberty, Delayed / complications
  • Puberty, Delayed / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thailand / epidemiology


  • Human Growth Hormone

Supplementary concepts

  • SHORT syndrome