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Human Growth Hormone

HGH Doubles Death Rate among Critically Ill

20 years, 5 months ago

10058  0
Posted on Nov 10, 2003, 6 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Human growth hormone (HGH) was once considered a major breakthrough in intensive care medicine as it combated the muscle wastage experienced by patients who spend long periods immobilised in bed. However, results of a study by researchers at Kuopio University Hospital in Finland have revealed that treating critically ill patients with HGH could significantly increase their risk of death.

Human growth hormone (HGH) was once considered a major breakthrough in intensive care medicine as it combated the muscle wastage experienced by patients who spend long periods immobilised in bed. However, results of a study by researchers at Kuopio University Hospital in Finland have revealed that treating critically ill patients with HGH could significantly increase their risk of death.

The researchers conducted two studies involving 247 Finnish patients and 285 patients in other European countries who had been in intensive care for 5 to 7 days and who were expected to need intensive care for at least 10 days. The patients had undergone cardiac surgery, abdominal surgery, or suffered multiple trauma, or acute respiratory failure.

Results of the Finnish study showed that the death rate of those treated with growth hormone was 39% - nearly double that of those not treated with the hormone. Meanwhile the respective death rates in the multinational study were 44% and 18%. What's more, for survivors, treatment with HGH seemed to increase the length that patients needed to stay in intensive care or on a respirator.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: New England Journal of Medicine 1999; 341: 785-792

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