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Incidence and Characteristics of Adrenal Crisis in Children Younger than 7 Years with 21-Hydroxylase Deficiency: A Nationwide Survey in Japan.

BACKGROUND/AIMS: We aimed to evaluate the incidence and characteristics of adrenal crisis in Japanese children with 21-hydroxylase deficiency (21-OHD).

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective nationwide survey for the councilors of the Japanese Society for Pediatric Endocrinology (JSPE) regarding adrenal crisis in children under 7 years with 21-OHD, admitted to hospitals from 2011 through 2016. We defined adrenal crisis as the acute impairment of general health due to glucocorticoid deficiency with at least two of symptoms, signs, or biochemical abnormalities.

RESULTS: The councilors of the JSPE in 83 institutions responded to this survey (response rate, 60.1%). Data analyses of 378 patients with 1,101.4 person-years (PYs) revealed that 67 patients (17.7%) experienced at least 1 episode of hospital admission for adrenal crisis at the median age of 2 years. The incidence of adrenal crisis was calculated as 10.9 per 100 PYs (95% confidence interval [CI] 9.6-12.2). Infections were the most common precipitating factors, while no factor was observed in 12.5%. Hypoglycemia occurred concomitantly in 27.4%. One patient died from severe hypoglycemia, resulting in a mortality rate of 0.09 per 100 PYs (95% CI 0.0-0.2).

CONCLUSION: Adrenal crisis is not rare and can be accompanied by disastrous hypoglycemia in children with 21-OHD.

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