Growth retardation has been described in patients with extrahepatic portal vein obstruction (EHPVO). An abnormal growth hormone (GH)–insulin-like growth factor (IGF) axis has been postulated as a possible etiology. We compared anthropometric parameters and IGF-1 and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) levels in patients with EHPVO with their siblings as controls.
Methods and patients
Consecutive patients diagnosed with EHPVO who presented to out-patient clinic in Department of Gastroenterology between February 2005 and February 2006 were enrolled along with their siblings whenever possible. After detailed history and clinical examination, anthropometric parameters such as age, height, weight, and mid-parental height were measured in patients and controls. IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 levels were also estimated.
Fifty-two patients (40 males, 32 adults) were enrolled. Sibling controls were available for 28 patients. Variceal bleeding was the presenting symptom in 41 of 52 (78.8%) patients. Target height was not achieved in 7 of 32 (22.6%) adults and 6 of 20 (30%) children, showing evidence of growth retardation. The mean IGF-1 levels in patients and controls were 124.71 ± 65.49 ng/ml and 233 ± 76.98 ng/ml (P < 0.01), respectively. The mean IGFBP-3 levels in patients and controls were 2.90 ± 1.07 μg/ml and 4.22 ± 0.77 μg/ml (P < 0.01), respectively. Hormonal levels between those with and without evidence of growth retardation did not differ significantly. Duration of symptoms, spleen size, platelet count, and age of presentation did not correlate with anthropometry and hormonal levels.
Growth retardation by anthropometry was documented in a quarter of patients with EHPVO. All patients had significantly low IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 levels in comparison with controls despite normal anthropometry in majority of patients (75%).