Growth Hormone Treatment and Aortic Dimensions in Turner Syndrome

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In recent years many girls with Turner syndrome (TS) have been treated with supraphysiological doses of GH to increase adult height. In addition to promoting statural growth, GH may have direct effects on the cardiovascular system.


We sought to determine whether GH treatment affects aortic diameter in girls with TS because there is an increased risk for aortic dilation and dissection in this syndrome.


In a retrospective, cross-sectional study, we compared ascending and descending aortic diameters measured by magnetic resonance imaging in GH-treated (n = 53) vs. untreated (n = 48) patients with TS participating in a National Institutes of Health protocol between 2001 and 2004.


The average duration of GH treatment was 4.7 with se 0.4 yr (range 2-11 yr). The two groups were similar in age and weight, but GH-treated subjects were on average 8 cm taller (P = 0.002). The diameter of the ascending aorta was increased by 7.3% and descending aorta by 8.9% in the GH-treated group. However, after correction for age, height, weight, and presence of bicuspid aortic valve and coarctation, using a multiple regression, neither history of GH treatment nor the length of GH treatment had an effect on the aortic diameter. Weight (P = 0.02), height (P = 0.001), and presence of bicuspid aortic valve (P = 0.0001) were associated with larger ascending aortic diameter, whereas age (P = 0.008), height (P = 0.02), and history of coarctation (P = 0.006) were associated with larger descending aortic diameter.


GH treatment of girls with TS does not seem to affect ascending or descending aortic diameter above the increase related to the larger body size.

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