Dr Catherine Choong is a Consultant Endocrinologist at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children and a Clinical Professor, School of Pediatrics and Child Health, University of Western Australia. She has previously been the President of the Australasian Pediatric Endocrine Group and a member of the Executive Committee of the Endocrine Society of Australia. She is currently a member of the Executive Council of the Pediatrics and Child Health Division and Deputy Chair of the College Council of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, and the Executive Committee of the Growth Hormone Research Society. She is a Clinician Researcher whose clinical practice spans many aspects of Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes and Endocrinology. Her current research interests include Pituitary and Thyroid Diseases of Childhood, Growth Disorders and Endocrine outcomes of Childhood Cancer Therapy. She has a busy public and private practice in Perth and provides outreach services to the Goldfields and Rockingham regions.
Australian children are taller than the CDC or WHO height means. A height equivalent to the first centile of the CDC reference is the cut-off used in Australia to define short stature and eligibility for GH treatment. In Australia, growth hormone (GH) is subsidized through the GH Program of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for a variety of childhood conditions for which short stature is a consistent and treatable symptom. During the 2013–2014 financial year $A29.5 million was spent on GH thus approximating to over $A14,000 per patient per year. The OZGROW is a Growth Hormone therapy registry (1990-2013) recording the treatment and response of every child in the Australian Growth Hormone Program. We interrogated the OZGROW registry to investigate the nature of treatment cessation. Greater than 50% of patients ceased early. The factors contributing to early cessation include poor response to therapy and compliance. These findings give impetus to development of better diagnostic algorithms including more detailed genetic characterization of patient with short stature and new Longer Acting GH analogues which will reduce the burden of daily injections.