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Q J Med. 1982 Spring;51(202):189-204.

The acromegaly syndrome. Relation between clinical features, growth hormone values and radiological characteristics of the pituitary tumours.


One hundred and fifty-five acromegalics, 76 males (mean age 44 +/- 1.3 years) and 79 females (45 +/- 1.4 years) were studied. The frequency of clinical features were: acral enlargement 100 per cent, hyperhidrosis 65 per cent, headache 55 per cent, paraesthesiae 49 per cent, cardiac problems 34 per cent, hypertension 32 per cent, diabetes mellitus (clinical and chemical) 27 per cent, and visual field defects 6 per cent. Signs and symptoms, and particularly headache, did not show any relation with the size or shape of pituitary tumours, nor with growth hormone (GH) values, age, sex or weight. Mean of GH values at 60, 90 and 120 minutes during a GTT averaged 135 mIU/l, range 8-1833. Diabetes mellitus was more frequent and severe in patients with higher GH values, occurring in 32 per cent of patients with mean GH values greater than or equal to 50 mIU/l and only in 16 per cent of the rest (p less than 0.05). GH values correlated positively with size of tumours. Forty-nine per cent of patients presented with entirely intrasellar tumours, 27 per cent with suprasellar extensions and 23 per cent with partially empty sellae. The mean GH (238 mIU/l) of patients with suprasellar extensions was significantly higher (p less than 0.004) than those of the others. Younger acromegalics showed a tendency to larger tumours. Early treatment of acromegaly, particularly in young patients and those presenting with high GH values, is recommended.

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