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Open access

Amir Bashkin, Eliran Yaakobi, Marina Nodelman, and Ohad Ronen

TSH routine testing in hospitalized patients has low efficacy, but may be beneficial in a selected subgroup of patients. Our aim was to evaluate the efficacy of routine thyroid function tests among patients admitted to internal medicine departments. It is a retrospective study. A randomly selected cohort of hospitalized patients with abnormal thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) blood tests drawn as part of admission protocol. Patient data were collected from the electronic medical files and analyzed for its efficacy. TSH as a screening test was proven unnecessary in 75% (174) of the study population. Leading causes were non-thyroidal illness syndrome, drugs affecting the test results and subclinical disorders. TSH testing was found to be clinically helpful in only 9 patients; however, all of them had other clinical need for TSH testing. We found a clinically abnormal TSH in 20 patients, hypothyroidism in 11 patients and thyrotoxicosis in 9 patients. Low efficacy ascribed to TSH screening test by this study correlates with recent recommendations that indicate TSH screening in admitted patients only with accompanying clinical suspicion. Most probably, the majority of patients found by screening to have thyrotoxicosis have non-thyroidal illness or drug effects so the threshold for FT4 to diagnose overt thyrotoxicosis should be higher than that in ambulatory patients. In elderly patients, clinically relevant TSH disturbances are more frequent and are harder to diagnose, therefore, TSH screening in this group of patients might be beneficial.

Open access

Ja Hye Kim, Yunha Choi, Soojin Hwang, Gu-Hwan Kim, Han-Wook Yoo, and Jin-Ho Choi

Objective: Heterozygous CHD7 mutations cause a broad spectrum of clinical phenotypes ranging from typical CHARGE syndrome to self-limited delayed puberty. This study aimed to investigate the clinical characteristics of endocrine dysfunction in patients with CHD7 mutations.

Methods: The clinical features and endocrine findings from 30 patients with CHD7 variants were retrospectively reviewed. A diagnosis of CHARGE syndrome was based on the Verloes diagnostic criteria.

Results: Seventeen patients fulfilled the criteria for typical CHARGE syndrome, one patient for partial/incomplete CHARGE, and the remaining 11 patients had atypical CHARGE syndrome. One patient was diagnosed with Kallmann syndrome and unilateral deafness. The most frequently observed features were inner ear anomalies (80.0%), intellectual disability (76.7%), and external ear anomalies (73.3%). The mean height and weight SDSs at diagnosis were -2.6 ± 1.3 and -2.2 ± 1.8, respectively. Short stature was apparent in 18 patients (60%), and one patient was diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency. Seventeen males showed genital hypoplasia, including micropenis, cryptorchidism, or both. Seven patients after pubertal age had hypogonadotropic hypogonadism with hyposmia/anosmia and olfactory bulb hypoplasia. Truncating CHD7 mutations were the most common (n = 22), followed by missense variants (n = 3), splice-site variants (n = 2), and large deletion (n = 2).

Conclusions: A diverse phenotypic spectrum was observed in patients with CHD7 variants, and endocrine defects such as short stature and delayed puberty occurred in most patients. Endocrine evaluation, especially for growth and pubertal impairment, should be performed during diagnosis and follow-up to improve the patient’s quality of life.

Open access

Laura Potasso, Julie Refardt, Irina Chifu, Martin Fassnacht, Wiebke Kristin Fenske, and Mirjam Christ-Crain

Objective

Hyperkalemia has been reported upon different hypertonic saline infusion protocols. Since hypertonic saline test has recently been validated for the differential diagnosis of diabetes insipidus (DI), we aimed to investigate the course of plasma potassium during the test.

Design

We analyzed data of 90 healthy volunteers and 141 patients with polyuria–polydipsia syndrome (PPS) from two prospective studies evaluating the hypertonic saline test. Our primary outcome was the incidence rate of hypertonic saline-induced hyperkalemia > 5 mmol/L.

Methods

Participants received a 250 mL bolus of 3% NaCl solution, followed by 0.15 mL/min/kg body weight continuously infused targeting a plasma sodium level of 150 mmol/L. Blood samples and clinical data were collected every 30 min.

Results

Of the 231 participants, 16% (n = 37/231) developed hyperkalemia. The incidence of hyperkalemia was higher in healthy volunteers and in patients with primary polydipsia (25.6% (n = 23/90) and 9.9% (n = 14/141), respectively), and only occurred in 3.4% (n = 2/59) of patients with diabetes insipidus. Hyperkalemia developed mostly at or after 90-min test duration (81.1%, n => 30/37). Predictors of hyperkalemia (OR (95% CI)) were male sex (2.9 (1.2–7.4), P => 0.02), a plasma potassium at baseline > 3.9 mmol/L (5.2 (1.8–17.3), P => 0.004), normonatremia at 30-min test duration (3.2 (1.2–9.5), P => 0.03), and an increase in potassium levels already at 30-min test duration as compared to baseline (4.5 (1.7–12.3), P => 0.003). Hyperkalemia was transient and resolved spontaneously in all cases.

Conclusion

The hypertonic saline test can lead to hyperkalemia, especially in patients with primary polydipsia who experience a longer test duration. Monitoring potassium levels in these patients is recommended.

Open access

M de Fost, S M Oussaada, E Endert, G E Linthorst, M J Serlie, M R Soeters, J H DeVries, P H Bisschop, and E Fliers

The water deprivation test is the gold standard test to differentiate central or nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (DI) from primary polydipsia (PP) in patients with polyuria and polydipsia. Few studies have addressed the diagnostic performance of this test. The aim of this retrospective cohort study was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of the standard water deprivation test, including plasma arginine vasopressin (AVP) measurements, in 40 consecutive patients with polyuria. We compared initial test results with the final clinical diagnosis, i.e., no DI, central DI, or nephrogenic DI. The median length of follow-up was 8 years. In a subset of ten patients, the novel marker copeptin (CP) was measured in plasma. Using the final diagnosis as a gold standard, a threshold for urine osmolality of >800 mOsmol/kg after water deprivation yielded a sensitivity and specificity of 96 and 100%, respectively, for diagnosing PP. Sensitivity increased to 100% if the cut-off value for urine osmolality was set at 680 mOsmol/kg. Plasma AVP levels did not differ between patient groups and did not differentiate among central DI, nephrogenic DI, or PP. In all three patients with central DI, plasma CP was <2.5 pmol/l with plasma osmolality >290 mOsmol/kg, and >2.5 pmol/l in patients without DI. The optimal cut-off value for differentiating PP from DI during a water deprivation test was urine osmolality >680 mOsmol/kg. Differentiating between central and nephrogenic DI should be based on clinical judgment as AVP levels did not discriminate.

Open access

Sheila Leone, Lucia Recinella, Annalisa Chiavaroli, Claudio Ferrante, Giustino Orlando, Michele Vacca, Roberto Salvatori, and Luigi Brunetti

Background

Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) plays an important role in brain functions. The aim of this study was to examine cognitive functions and emotional behaviour in a mouse model of isolated GH deficiency due to bi-allelic ablation of the GHRH gene (GHRH knockout, GHRHKO).

Methods

Learning, memory and emotional behaviour were evaluated using a series of validated tests (Morris water maze, eight-arm radial maze, open field, elevated plus maze test, forced swim tests) in 2-, 5- and 12-month-old male mice either homozygous (−/−) or heterozygous (+/−) for the GHRHKO allele.

Results

Compared with age-matched +/− mice, −/− mice showed decreased cognitive performance in Morris water maze and eight-arm radial maze tests. By comparing the effects of aging in each genotype, we observed an age-related impairment in test results in +/− mice, while in −/− mice a significant decline in cognitive function was found only in 12 months compared with 2-month-old mice, but no difference was found between 5 months old vs 2 months old. −/− mice showed increased exploration activity compared to age-matched +/− controls, while both strains of mice had an age-related decrease in exploration activity. When evaluated through open field, elevated plus maze and forced swim tests, −/− mice demonstrated a decrease in anxiety and depression-related behaviour compared to age-matched +/− controls.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that homozygous ablation of GHRH gene is associated with decreased performance in learning and memory tests, possibly linked to increased spontaneous locomotor activity. In addition, we observed an age-related decline in cognitive functions in both genotypes.

Open access

Agnieszka Pazderska, Yaasir Mamoojee, Satish Artham, Margaret Miller, Stephen G Ball, Tim Cheetham, and Richard Quinton

We present herein our 20-year experience of pubertal induction in apubertal older (median age 56 years; range 38.4–69.5) men with congenital hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism (n = 7) using a simple fixed-dose and fixed-interval intramuscular testosterone that we originally pioneered in relation to achieving virilisation of natal female transgender men. This regime was effective and well tolerated, resulting in complete virilisation by around 1 year after treatment initiation. No physical or psychological adverse effects were encountered in this group of potentially vulnerable individuals. There were no abnormal excursions of laboratory parameters and extended follow-up beyond the first year of treatment revealed remarkable improvements in bone density. We highlight advantages to both patients and physicians of this regime in testosterone-naïve older men with congenital hypogonadism and discourage the over-rigid application to such patients of treatment algorithms derived from paediatric practice in relation to the evaluation and management in younger teenagers with delayed puberty of uncertain cause.

Open access

Lauren Bell, Ann Louise Hunter, Angelos Kyriacou, Annice Mukherjee, and Akheel A Syed

Background

TSH receptor antibody (TRAb) is considered the gold standard diagnostic test for the autoimmunity of Graves’ disease (GD), which is commonly diagnosed clinically.

Aim

To evaluate the true positive (sensitivity) and true negative (specificity) rates of clinical diagnosis of GD or non-GD hyperthyroidism compared to the TRAb test.

Setting

University teaching hospital in North West England.

Participants

Patients in the Endocrinology service who had a TRAb measurement between December 2009 and October 2015.

Methods

Electronic patient records were studied retrospectively for a pre-TRAb clinical diagnosis of GD or non-GD hyperthyroidism. We examined descriptive statistics and binary classification tests; Fisher exact test was used to analyse contingency tables.

Results

We identified 316 patients with a mean age of 45 (range, 17–89) years; 247 (78%) were women. Compared to the TRAb result, clinical diagnosis had a sensitivity of 88%, specificity 66%, positive predictive value 72%, negative predictive value 84%, false negative rate 12%, false positive rate 34%, positive likelihood ratio 2.6 and negative likelihood ratio 0.2 (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions

Clinicians were liable to both over- and under-diagnose GD. The TRAb test can help reduce the number of incorrect or unknown diagnoses in the initial clinical assessment of patients presenting with hyperthyroidism.

Open access

Laura Chioma, Carla Bizzarri, Martina Verzani, Daniela Fava, Mariacarolina Salerno, Donatella Capalbo, Chiara Guzzetti, Laura Penta, Luigi Di Luigi, Natascia Di Iorgi, Mohamad Maghnie, Sandro Loche, and Marco Cappa

Objective: This retrospective study aimed to evaluate children observed for suspected precocious puberty in 5 Italian centers of Pediatric Endocrinology during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic (March- September 2020), compared to subjects observed in the same period of the previous year.

Design: The study population (490 children) was divided according to year of observation and final diagnosis: transient thelarche (TT), non-progressive precocious puberty (NPP), central precocious puberty (CPP), or early puberty (EP).

Results: Between March and September 2020, 338 subjects were referred for suspected precocious puberty, compared to 152 subjects in the same period of 2019 (+222%). The increase was observed in girls (328 subjects in 2020 versus 140 in 2019, p<0.05), especially during the second half of the period considered (92 girls from March to May versus 236 girls from June to September); while no difference was observed in boys (10 subjects in 2020 versus 12 in 2019). The percentage of girls with confirmed CPP was higher in 2020, compared to 2019 (135/328 girls [41%] versus 37/140 [26%], p<0.01). Anthropometric and hormonal parameters in 2019 and 2020 CPP girls were not different; 2020 CPP girls showed a more prolonged use of electronic devices and a more sedentary lifestyle both before and during the pandemic, compared to the rest of the 2020 population.

Conclusions: The present findings corroborate the recently reported association between the complex lifestyle changes related to the lockdown and a higher incidence of central precocious puberty in Italian girls.

Open access

L A Hughes, K McKay-Bounford, E A Webb, P Dasani, S Clokie, H Chandran, L McCarthy, Z Mohamed, J M W Kirk, N P Krone, S Allen, and T R P Cole

Disorders of sex development (DSDs) are a diverse group of conditions where the chromosomal, gonadal or anatomical sex can be atypical. The highly heterogeneous nature of this group of conditions often makes determining a genetic diagnosis challenging. Prior to next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, genetic diagnostic tests were only available for a few of the many DSD-associated genes, which consequently had to be tested sequentially. Genetic testing is key in establishing the diagnosis, allowing for personalised management of these patients. Pinpointing the molecular cause of a patient’s DSD can significantly impact patient management by informing future development needs, altering management strategies and identifying correct inheritance pattern when counselling family members. We have developed a 30-gene NGS panel, designed to be used as a frontline test for all suspected cases of DSD (both 46,XX and 46,XY cases). We have confirmed a diagnosis in 25 of the 80 patients tested to date. Confirmed diagnoses were linked to mutations in AMH, AMHR2, AR, HSD17B3, HSD3B2, MAMLD1, NR5A1, SRD5A2 and WT1 which have resulted in changes to patient management. The minimum diagnostic yield for patients with 46,XY DSD is 25/73. In 34/80 patients, only benign or likely benign variants were identified, and in 21/80 patients only variants of uncertain significance (VOUS) were identified, resulting in a diagnosis not being confirmed in these individuals. Our data support previous studies that an NGS panel approach is a clinically useful and cost-effective frontline test for patients with DSDs.

Open access

Navid Tabriz, Kilian Gloy, Astrid Schantzen, Dennis Fried, Dirk Weyhe, and Verena Uslar

Objectives

Validation of a German version of the ThyPRO-39 questionnaire for quality of life (QoL) in patients with benign thyroid diseases.

Design

Internal consistency, retest reliability, and validity were to be assessed in a test-retest study.

Methods

The ThyPRO-39 was translated based on standard methodology. A sample of 98 patients with benign thyroid diseases was tested with the ThyPRO-39de and the generic EuroQol 5D-5L. Forty-four patients with stable symptoms after 2 weeks formed the repeated measures sample. Cronbach’s alpha was calculated for the ThyPRO-39de composite score and for each disease-specific scale. Intraclass correlations between the original and the repeated measures sample were calculated for each scale as well as Pearson correlations between various ThyPRO scales and the EuroQol. T-tests were used to test for differences in the goiter and hyperthyroid symptom scales between relevant patient groups and other patients.

Results

Internal consistency was between satisfactory and good, except for two scales (tiredness and cosmetic complaints/appearance). The test-retest correlation was between 0.62 and 0.8 for most scales, but below 0.5 for two scales (tiredness and impaired social life). There were significant correlations between the EuroQol index score and most aspects of the ThyPRO-39de. Only the hyperthyroid symptoms scale was specific for the relevant patient group (Graves’ disease).

Conclusion

The ThyPRO-39de may be recommended for use in clinical and research settings, especially with regards to the composite score. However, the underlying thyroid disease should always be kept in mind when interpreting the test results. A larger sample would be needed to implement further improvements.