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Brigitte Odenwald, Uta Nennstiel-Ratzel, Helmuth-Günther Dörr, Heinrich Schmidt, Manfred Wildner, and Walter Bonfig


To evaluate adrenal crises after the start of treatment up to the age of 6 years in children with classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH).


Analysis of data extracted from a population-based prospective long-term follow-up study of children detected in neonatal screening.


Data of 102 Bavarian children with classic CAH due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency were analyzed, using parental questionnaires and medical reports. Parent-reported hospital admissions of children diagnosed with acute health impairment were included in the analysis if salt loss (hyponatremia) or hypoglycemia was documented in the discharge summary.


A total of 74 children (72.5%) had no report of hospital admissions with salt loss or hypoglycemia during the observational period. However, in 27.5% of the children, 22 salt-wasting crises (seven of these also with low blood glucose) and 16 hypoglycemic episodes without salt loss were reported. Furthermore, the cumulative incidence for seizures was elevated; 13 children experienced seizures during hyponatremia or hypoglycemia. Most adrenal crises were triggered by infections, often with inappropriate emergency management, but in 11 cases hypoglycemia occurred unexpectedly, without evidence of severe illness and without any management errors. Frequency of adrenal crises was 6.5 per 100 patient years (95% CI: 4.6–8.8).


Crisis prevention remains a permanent challenge for families and physicians caring for children with classic CAH. Expert care and compliance with emergency recommendations are crucial. Further research on the interactions among glucocorticoid deficiency, adrenomedullary dysfunction, and glucose metabolism is necessary for the prevention of hypoglycemia, especially in young CAH patients.

Open access

Irina Bacila, Nicole Freeman, Eleni Daniel, Marija Sandrk, Jillian Bryce, Salma Rashid Ali, Zehra Yavas Abalı, Navoda Atapattu, Tania A Bachega, Antonio Balsamo, Niels Birkebæk, Oliver Blankenstein, Walter Bonfig, Martine Cools, Eduardo Correa Costa, Feyza Darendeliler, Silvia Einaudi, Heba Hassan Elsedfy, Martijn Finken, Evelien Gevers, Hedi L Claahsen-van der Grinten, Tulay Guran, Ayla Güven, Sabine E. Hannema, Claire E Higham, Violeta Iotova, Hetty J. van der Kamp, Marta Korbonits, Ruth E Krone, Corina Lichiardopol, Andrea Luczay, Berenice Bilharinho Mendonca, Tatjana Milenkovic, Mirela C Miranda, Klaus Mohnike, Uta Neumann, Rita Ortolano, Sukran Poyrazoglu, Ajay Thankamony, Jeremy W Tomlinson, Ana Vieites, Liat de Vries, S Faisal Ahmed, Richard J Ross, and Nils P Krone

Objective: Despite published guidelines no unified approach to hormone replacement in congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) exists. We aimed to explore geographical and temporal variations in the treatment with glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids in CAH.

Design: This retrospective multi-center study, including 31 centers (16 countries), analyzed data from the International-CAH Registry.

Methods: Data was collected from 461 patients aged 0-18 years with classic 21-hydroxylase deficiency (54.9% females) under follow-up between 1982 – 2018. Type, dose and timing of glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid replacement was analyzed from 4174 patient visits.

Results: The most frequently used glucocorticoid was hydrocortisone (87.6%). Overall, there were significant differences between age groups with regards to daily hydrocortisone-equivalent dose for body surface, with the lowest dose (median with interquartile range) of 12.0 (10.0 – 14.5) mg/ m2/ day at age 1 - 8 years and the highest dose of 14.0 (11.6 - 17.4) mg/ m2/ day at age 12-18 years. Glucocorticoid doses decreased after 2010 in patients 0-8 years (p<0.001) and remained unchanged in patients aged 8-18 years. Fludrocortisone was used in 92% of patients, with relative doses decreasing with age. A wide variation was observed among countries with regards to all aspects of steroid hormone replacement.

Conclusions: Data from the I-CAH Registry suggests international variations in hormone replacement therapy, with a tendency to treatment with high doses in children.