[en] Background. Recent studies have shown that many patients treated with growth hormone (GH) during childhood because of idiopathic GH deficiency (GHD) are no longer GH deficient when retested after cessation of GH therapy when final height is achieved. These patients are labelled as transient GHD. We hypothesized that normalization of GH secretion in transient GHD could occur earlier during the course of GH treatment, which could allow earlier cessation of GH treatment. Methods: In a retrospective study, GH secretion was re-evaluated after cessation of GH treatment at final height in 43 patients diagnosed during childhood as idiopathic GHD 10 with multiple pituitary hormonal deficiencies (MPHD) and 33 with isolated GHD ([sGHD]). In a prospective study, GH secretion was re-assessed after interruption of GH treatment given for 1 year in 18 children with idiopathic GHD (2 MPHD, 16 IsGHD). GH secretion was evaluated by glucagon or insulin stimulation tests. Results: In the retrospective study, all the 10 patients with MPHD and 64% of the 33 patients with IsGHD were still deficient at re-evaluation using the paediatric criteria to define GHD (GH peak < 10 ng/ml at provocative test). The proportion of persisting deficiency was greater in patients with complete IsGHD (86%, 12/14 patients) than in patients with partial IsGHD (47%, 9/19 patients). With the criteria proposed in adulthood (GH peak <3 ng/ml), all the 10 patients with MPHD were still considered to be deficient. In contrast, only 15% (5/33 patients) with IsGHD had a maximal GH value < 3 ng/ml (36% of the 14 patients with complete IsGHD and none of the 19 patients with partial IsGHD). In the prospective study, after interruption of GH therapy given for 1 year, the 2 patients with MPHD were still GHD at re-evaluation and they resumed GH treatment. Among the 16 patients with IsGHD, 13 (81%) were still deficient (peak response < 10 ng/ml) after 1 year. Two of the 3 patients in whom GHD was not confirmed at retesting after 1 year GH showed again a deficient response at second retesting. Conclusions: Although many patients diagnosed with IsGHD during childhood have a normalized GH secretory capacity when retested during adulthood, early retesting after interruption of GH treatment given for 1 year during childhood does not enable to determine if GH therapy has to be discontinued before cessation of growth. Copyright (C) 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel.