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Assessment of quality of life in adults receiving long-term growth hormone replacement compared to control subjects.

OBJECTIVE: There are few studies of quality of life (QOL) in adults with growth hormone deficiency (GHD) compared to matched control populations without GHD. These have shown impairments in a variety of QOL measures, which improve but do not normalize after short-term replacement with GH. There is little information on QOL in long-term treated GHD patients compared with controls without GHD.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 120 adults with GHD who had received GH replacement for at least 1 year were identified from the neuroendocrine clinic. Patients were asked to complete eight QOL questionnaires and an Energy Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). Results were compared with 83 control subjects without GHD from the local population who agreed to complete seven of the QOL questionnaires (excluding Disease Impact scale) and the energy VAS. The eight questionnaires were a combination of generic and disease-specific questionnaires used to assess health related QOL, namely: Short Form-36 (SF-36), Nottingham Health Profile (NHP), Disease Impact, Life Fulfilment and Satisfaction scales, Mental Fatigue Questionnaire (MFQ) and Self Esteem scale, Hospital Anxiety Depression (HAD) scale and QOL-AGHDA (assessment of GHD in adults).

RESULTS: Eighty-nine patients returned questionnaires and 85 (71%) had complete data for analysis. The mean (SD) duration of GH replacement was 36.0 +/- 26.4 (range 13-159) months. Mean age was 43.9 +/- 15.8 years (37 males) in treated GHD patients compared to a mean age 41.7 +/- 10.5 years (32 males) in the controls. Mean IGF-1 levels were 22.5 +/- 13.6 nmol/l in the GHD patients and the mean dose of GH replacement was 1.2 +/- 0.4 IU daily. Analysis of the QOL questionnaires from the GH treated patients revealed highly significant impairments in all measures (most P
CONCLUSIONS: This large population with treated GH deficiency have significant impairments in multiple aspects of QOL despite replacement with GH and other pituitary hormones for at least 1 year (mean 3 years). It is likely therefore that other factors in addition to GH deficiency must influence QOL in these patients. Further strategies to improve QOL in these individuals should therefore be considered, e.g. psychological support and treatments and physical treatments (such as exercise programmes).

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