Evaluation of referrals for short stature: A retrospective chart review
Paediatrics and Child Health (Canada)
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Background: Referrals to paediatric endocrine clinics for short stature are common. Height velocity (HV) is an essential component of the evaluation of short stature as growth deceleration often reflects an underlying paediatric endocrine diagnosis (PED). Access to previous measurements facilitates prompt calculation of HV. Objective: To determine the availability of previous measurements at time of referral for short stature and to determine predictors of a PED. Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed on all referrals for short stature to a single paediatric endocrinologist between January 2008 and December 2014. Standard practice following receipt of a referral for short stature included repeated requests to the referring physician for previous measurements. Results: A total of 324 charts of patients aged 11 months to 18 years were reviewed and 286 were eligible for inclusion. Previous measurements were available in 72.4%, and 44.8% of these were found to have a PED. There was a significant relation between HV<25th percentile and a PED (P<0.0001) and between height deficit (HD) and a PED (P<0.0001). Logistic regression analysis showed that a HV<25th percentile and a HD>2 standard deviations, increased the odds of PED by a factor of 5.12 (P<0.001) and 1.39 (P<0.005), respectively. Conclusion: HV is a significant predictor of a PED. Our higher rate of previous measurement availability is likely due to our effective referral screening protocol. The availability of these measurements, which are essential for HV calculation, are likely to reduce delays in diagnosis and management.