Prevalence of GH deficiency (GHD) caused by traumatic brain injury (TBI) is highly variable. Short-term studies show improvement in quality of life (QoL) during GH replacement (GHR), but long-term data are lacking. The aim of this study was to analyse the clinical characteristics of post-traumatic hypopituitarism and the QoL effects of long-term GHR.
Pfizer International Metabolic Database patients with GHD caused by TBI and by non-functioning pituitary adenoma (NFPA) were compared regarding: clinical characteristics at baseline and 1-year of GHR, and QoL response up to 8-years of GHR (QoL-AGHDA total scores and dimensions) in relationship with country-specific norms.
TBI patients compared with NFPA patients were younger, diagnosed with GHD 2.4 years later after primary disease onset (P<0.0001), had a higher incidence of isolated GHD, higher GH peak, a more favourable metabolic profile and worse QoL, were shorter by 0.9 cm (1.8 cm when corrected for age and gender; P=0.004) and received higher GH dose (mean difference: 0.04 mg/day P=0.006). In TBI patients, 1-year improvement in QoL was greater than in NFPA (change in QoL-AGHDA score 5.0 vs 3.5, respectively, P=0.04) and was sustained over 8 years. In TBI patients, socialisation normalised after 1 year of GHR, self-confidence and tenseness after 6 years and no normalisation of tiredness and memory was observed.
Compared with NFPA, TBI patients presented biochemically with less severe hypopituitarism and worse QoL scores. GHR achieved clinically relevant, long-term benefit in QoL.