False positives common in GHD
Positive growth hormone stimulation test results are often false positives in children with short stature, with the probability of a true positive result occurring in about 1 in 36 cases, according to a study.
Researchers argued that due to the nature of growth hormone deficiency (GHD) in childhood, diagnostic accuracy is difficult to achieve.
“The clinical sequelae of GHD (eg, short stature, altered body composition) are believed to result from a chronic deficiency state of low production and secretion of growth hormone and IGF-I during the growth years. This chronic deficiency state is not, as far as we know, a condition that can be verified with “one-time tests” such as tissue biopsy or available imaging techniques,” the authors wrote.
As a result, GHD is often defined by treatment response, which can be problematic due to varying heights in adult reference populations.
According to the authors, “what might be a treatment success for one person might be an inadequate response for another.”
The authors suggest a study on GH treatment in children with a wide range of height deficits.
Bright GM, Morris PA, Rosenfeld RG. When is a positive test for pediatric growth hormone deficiency a true positive test? Horm Res Paediatr. 2021;doi: 10.1159/000521281. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34856538.