Infants Hospitalized Most Often for Adrenal Insufficiency, Hypopituitarism

Pituitary gland MRI
Pituitary gland MRI
Rates of adrenal insufficiency and hypopituitarism were highest during infancy, particularly among females.

Hospital admission rates for children with adrenal insufficiency and hypopituitarism may vary based on the patient’s age and sex, according to a study published by Hormone Research in Pediatrics.

Australian hospitalization data for the years 2001 through 2014 were analyzed retrospectively and researchers identified a total of 3779 individuals between the ages of 1 and 19 years who were admitted for treatment of adrenal insufficiency/hypopituitarism. Data were analyzed to determine whether age or sex affected the burden of hospitalization in patients with adrenal insufficiency/hypopituitarism.

Results from the study showed that admissions for adrenal insufficiency/hypopituitarism were highest during infancy, and 3 times higher than in children ages 1 to 4 years (55.2 million/year; P <.01), with females having a higher admission rate compared with males (203.4 and 144.7 million/year, respectively, P <.01). For those in the older age groups, males had an admission rate 2.7 times higher than females (19.9 and 7.4 million/year, respectively, P <.01). During the study, it was noted that overall admission rates increased consistently and significantly throughout the study (incidence rate ratio for each successive year of 1.02; 95% CI, 1.01-1.03). 

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The investigators concluded that although overall admission rates between the sexes were comparable, there were significant differences identified in admission rates between sex age groups. Infants were found to have a higher admission rate, with more females than males admitted. In the older age groups, males were found to have higher admission rates compared with females. Researchers did not identify causality for the admission rate differences between groups based on age and sex, and they suggest additional research on causality.


Rushworth RL, Chrisp GL, Dean B, Falhammar H, Torpy DJ. Hospitalisation in children with adrenal insufficiency and hypopituitarism: is there a differential burden between boys and girls and between age groups? [published online September 12, 2017]. Horm Res Paediatr. doi:10.1159/000479370