Congenital adrenal hyperplasia: Lessons from a multinational study

H. Frisch, F. Waldhauser, J. Lebl, J. Solyom, G. Hargitai, J. Kovacs, Z. Pribilincova, C. Krzisnik, T. Battelino

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A study group of paediatric endocrinologists was established in Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia in order to investigate various aspects in children with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). Five hundred and ninety-eight patients with CAH who were diagnosed between 1969 and 1998 were included in order to analyze the following questions. Epidemiological data: There were significantly fewer males (43%) than females (57%), and the percentage of males did not increase during the observation period. Salt wasters (SW) totalled 64.7%, whereas 35.3% had simple virilizing (SV) CAH. Diagnosis was established significantly later in boys than in girls (median of 26 vs. 13 days for SW, p < 0.0001; 1,817 vs. 1,010 days for SV, p < 0.03). Mortality in the general population was significantly lower than in CAH siblings (1.8% vs. 7.0%, p < 0.0001) or in SW children (2.2% vs. 11.3%, p < 0.0001). According to our calculation with the present clinical diagnostic criteria in Central Europe, from 40 expected CAH patients/year, 2-2.5 SW, and one female and four male SV patients will not be diagnosed. Auxological data: Growth data from 341 patients were analyzed retrospectively. Percentiles were constructed in a longitudinal/cross-sectional study and pubertal growth was described in a longitudinal analysis. Growth of SW patients was impaired in early childhood (0-3 years), but followed a normal course until puberty. In contrast, SV children had a normal growth pattern during early childhood, but were above the standard thereafter. The pubertal growth spurt was of normal magnitude in boys and girls, but started too early. Final height was reduced compared with both standard and target heights. There was no correlation between final height and age of starting treatment or the year of birth. Bone age was accelerated in both CAH types, but more so in SV patients. Molecular genetics: Three hundred and fifty-six patients were investigated for 11-14 of the most frequent mutations by direct allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and/or PCR followed by sequence-specific oligonucleotide, single strand chain polymorphism and restriction fragment length polymorphism. In the group as a whole, we most frequently found the Intron 2 splice mutation (30.8%) or a deletion/conversion (28.5%). The Intron 2 mutation was most frequent in the Hungarian population, whereas deletions/conversions were found more frequently in Slovenians. The other mutations had a similar distribution to those seen in other populations. Genotype-phenotype correlation confirms previous reports.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-101
Number of pages7
JournalHormone research
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 26 2002


  • Body height
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Epidemiology
  • Final height
  • Genotyping
  • Growth velocity
  • Molecular genetics
  • Mortality
  • Percentiles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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    Frisch, H., Waldhauser, F., Lebl, J., Solyom, J., Hargitai, G., Kovacs, J., Pribilincova, Z., Krzisnik, C., & Battelino, T. (2002). Congenital adrenal hyperplasia: Lessons from a multinational study. Hormone research, 57(SUPPL. 2), 95-101.