Etiological and clinical characteristics of central diabetes insipidus in children: a single center experience

  • Hunter J
  • Calikoglu A
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BACKGROUND: Central diabetes insipidus (CDI) results from a number of conditions affecting the hypothalamic-neurohypophyseal system to cause vasopressin deficiency. Diagnosis of CDI is challenging, and clinical data and guidelines for management are lacking. We aim to characterize clinical and radiological characteristics of a cohort of pediatric patients with CDI.METHODS: A chart review of 35 patients with CDI followed at North Carolina Children's Hospital from 2000 to 2015 was undertaken. The frequencies of specific etiologies of CDI and characteristic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings were determined. The presence of additional hormone deficiencies at diagnosis and later in the disease course was ascertained. Patient characteristics and management strategies were evaluated.RESULTS: The cohort included 14 female and 21 male patients with a median age of 4.7 years (range, less than 1 month to 16 years) at diagnosis. Median duration of follow-up was 5 years (range, 2 months to 16 years). The cause of CDI was intracranial mass in 13 patients (37.2 %), septo-optic dysplasia in 9 patients (25.7 %), holoprosencephaly in 5 patients (14.2 %), Langerhans cell histiocytosis in 3 patients (8.6 %), isolated pituitary hypoplasia in 2 patients (5.7 %), and encephalocele in 1 patient (2.9 %). Patients were symptomatic for a mean of 6.3 months (range, less than 1 month to 36 months) prior to diagnosis of CDI. Growth hormone (GH), thyrotropin (TSH), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), and gonadotropin deficiencies were present at diagnosis in 34, 23, 23, and 6 % of patients, respectively. GH, TSH, ACTH, and gonadotropin deficiencies were diagnosed during follow-up in 23, 40, 37, and 14 % of patients, respectively. In patients with structural CNS abnormalities, development of additional hormone deficiencies occurred anywhere from 2 months to 13 years after the time of initial presentation.CONCLUSIONS: All patients in our cohort had an underlying organic etiology for CDI, with intracranial masses and CNS malformations being most common. Therefore, MRI of the brain is indicated in all pediatric patients with CDI. Other pituitary hormone deficiencies should be investigated at diagnosis as well as during follow-up.




Hunter, J. D., & Calikoglu, A. S. (2016). Etiological and clinical characteristics of central diabetes insipidus in children: a single center experience. International Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology, 2016(1).

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