Growth hormone deficiency – children

Alternative Names

Panhypopituitarism; Pituitary dwarfism; Recombinant human GH (rhGH); Acquired growth hormone deficiency; Congenital growth hormone deficiency; Somatropin

Definition of Growth hormone deficiency – children

Growth hormone deficiency refers to abnormally short height in childhood due to the lack of growth hormone.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Growth hormone is produced in the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain.


Children with growth hormone deficiency have a slow or flat rate of growth, usually less than 2 inches per year. The slow growth may not appear until a child is 2 or 3 years old.

Signs and tests

A growth chart is used to compare a child’s current height, and how fast he or she is growing, to other children of the same age and gender.


A child’s short stature will often affect self-esteem. Providing emotional support is an important part of treatment. Children may be teased by classmates and playmates. Family, friends, and teachers should emphasize the child’s other skills and strengths.

Expectations (prognosis)

The earlier the condition is treated, the better the chance that a child will grow to be a near-normal adult height.


Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 7/26/2010

Endocrine glands
Height/weight chart

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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