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J Paediatr Child Health. 2012 Mar;48(3):263-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2011.02256.x. Epub 2011 Nov 23.

Characteristics of the short children referred to an academic paediatric endocrine clinic in Greece.

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  • 1Third Department of Paediatrics, University of Athens, School of Medicine, Attikon University Hospital, Athens, Greece.



To describe the characteristics of short children in relation to gender and the various diagnoses.


All new patients of Greek origin that were referred to our institution in the years 2007 and 2008 for evaluation of short stature were included in the study. Children were categorized according to the severity of their short stature in those with height standard deviation score (HSDS) ≤ -3 and HSDS > -3.


Two hundred ninety-five children (162 boys and 133 girls, ratio 1.2) were referred. HSDS of boys was -2.3 (0.6) and of girls -2.1 (0.5), P= 0.004. Girls had shorter parents, and the predicted adult HSDS was also shorter for girls -1.7 (0.8) than for boys -1.35 (0.76), P= 0.003. Seventy per cent of the children of both sexes had familial short stature (FSS), constitutional delay of growth or a combination of the two conditions. About 10% presented the auxological and biochemical criteria for growth hormone deficiency (GHD). In addition, 11.8% had a HSDS ≤ -3, the most common diagnosis being GHD (36.1%); the less severely short children most commonly presented FSS (41.2%).


There is no gender bias in referrals for short stature in Greece. About 70% of children of both sexes presented FSS or constitutional delay of growth or a combination of the two conditions, whereas GHD was diagnosed in about 10% of the children. Normal variants of growth were present in about 80% of children with HSDS > -3, but in only 40% when HSDS was ≤ -3.

© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health © 2011 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (Royal Australasian College of Physicians).

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