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Tall Stature: A Challenge for Clinicians

Author(s):

Beatriz Corredor, Mehul Dattani, Chiara Gertosio and Mauro Bozzola*   Pages 1 - 12 ( 12 )

Abstract:


Clinicians generally use the term “tall stature” to define a height more than two standard deviations above the mean for age and sex. In most cases, these subjects present with familial tall stature or a constitutional advance of growth which is diagnosed by excluding the other conditions associated with overgrowth. Nevertheless, it is necessary to be able to identify situations in which tall stature or an accelerated growth rate indicates an underlying disorder. A careful physical evaluation allows the classification of tall patients into two groups: those with a normal appearance and those with an abnormal appearance including disproportion or dysmorphism. In the first case, the growth rate has to be evaluated and, if it is normal for age and sex, the subjects may be considered as having familial tall stature or constitutional advance of growth or they may be obese, while if the growth rate is increased, pubertal status and thyroid function should be evaluated. In turn, tall subjects having an abnormal appearance can be divided into proportionate and disproportionate syndromic patients. Before initiating further investigations, the clinician needs to perform both a careful physical examination and growth evaluation. To exclude pathological conditions, the cause of tall stature needs to be considered, although most children are healthy and generally do not require treatment to inhibit growth progression. In particular cases, familial tall stature subject can be treated by inducing puberty early and leading to a complete fusion of the epiphyses, so final height is reached. This review aims to provide proposals about the management of tall children.

Keywords:

tall stature, proportionate syndromes, disproportionate syndromes.

Affiliation:

Department of Endocrinology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, WC1N 1EH, London, Department of Endocrinology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, WC1N 1EH, London, Department of Internal Medicine and Therapeutics, Pediatrics and Adolescent Care Unit, University of Pavia, Strada Nuova 65, 27100 Pavia, Department of Internal Medicine and Therapeutics, Pediatrics and Adolescent Care Unit, University of Pavia, Strada Nuova 65, 27100 Pavia



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