Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Endocrinol (Paris). 2008 Jun;69(3):231-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ando.2007.11.003. Epub 2008 May 19.

[Central diabetes insipidus: diagnostic difficulties].

[Article in French]

Author information

Service de pédiatrie, urgences et consultations externes, hôpital d'enfants de Tunis, 1007, rue Jabbari-Bab-Saâdoun, Tunis, Tunisie.


Central diabetes insipidus is rare in children. Characteristic features include polyuria and polydipsia due to arginine vasopressin deficiency. The differential diagnosis of polyuric states may be difficult. Etiologic diagnosis of central diabetes insipidus may be an equally difficult task.


To specify the difficulties encountered in the diagnosis of central diabetes insipidus and to point out features of the etiologic work-up and of long-term follow-up of children with idiopathic central diabetes insipidus.


A retrospective study of 12 children admitted with a polyuria/polydipsia syndrome to the pediatric - consultation and emergency unit of the children's hospital of Tunis between 1988 and 2005. Children with acquired nephrogenic central diabetes insipidus were excluded. Fourteen-hour fluid restriction test and/or desmopressin test were used without plasma vasopressin measurement.


Eight patients were classified as having central diabetes insipidus, which was severe in seven children and partial in one girl. One patient was classified as having primary polydipsia. The diagnosis remains unclear in three patients. The etiological work-up in eight patients with central diabetes insipidus enabled the identification of Langerhan's-cell histiocytosis in two patients and neurosurgical trauma in one. The cause was considered idiopathic in five patients. The median follow-up of the five patients with idiopathic central diabetes insipidus was five years two months plus or minus six years seven months (range five months, 14.5 years). During this follow-up, neither brain magnetic resonance imaging scans findings nor anterior pituitary function have changed.


Fluid restriction and desmopressin tests did not enable an accurate distinction between partial diabetes insipidus and primary polydipsia. Regular surveillance is warranted in patients with idiopathic central diabetes insipidus to identify potential etiologies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Masson (France)
Loading ...
Support Center