Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of acromegaly: a Canadian perspective

Patel, Yogesh C.; Ezzat, Shereen; Chik, Constance L.; Rorstad, Otto P.; Serri, Omar; Ur, Ehud; Wilkins, G. Edward
June 2000
Clinical & Investigative Medicine;Jun2000, Vol. 23 Issue 3, p172
Academic Journal
Acromegaly is a chronic, debilitating condition caused by excessive secretion of growth hormone (GH). In the majority of cases the condition results from benign pituitary adenomas or, rarely, from ectopic production of GH-releasing hormone. Regardless of the cause, excess GH results in physical disfigurement associated with arthropathy, diabetes, hypertension, cardiac dysfunction, obstructive sleep apnea and colonic neoplasia. The death rate for acromegalic patients is 2 to 3 times higher than that of the general population, but with appropriate reduction of GH hypersecretion it tends to shift into the normal range. Treatment is thus aimed at normalizing GH secretion, eradicating or stabilizing the pituitary tumour while preserving normal pituitary function, and managing the associated complications. The treatment modalities available to achieve these objectives include transsphenoidal surgery, pharmacotherapy and radiation, or various combinations of these. This review provides an update on our current understanding of the pathophysiology of GH hypersecretion in acromegaly, the newly defined diagnostic criteria and the end point for a cure for acromegaly, and on new developments in drug treatment with the advent of slow-release forms of somatostatin analogues and the longer-acting dopamine receptor agonists, as well as in the area of radiotherapy. Its main purpose is to guide any physician involved in the diagnosis and management of patients with acromegaly.


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