Hormone Research 2005;63:33-39.

Deaths in children with Prader-Willi syndrome. A contribution to the debate about the safety of growth hormone treatment in children with PWS.
Eiholzer U.

Irrespective of GH treatment, children with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) suffer more frequently and more seriously from respiratory problems than healthy children. The pathogenesis of such respiratory problems in PWS seems to be multifactorial in origin, but mainly related to insuffi ciency of respiratory muscles and pharyngeal narrowness. Deaths of children with PWS are reported among GH treated as well as untreated children. Our data show that also disturbed body composition plays an important role in fatal outcomes, possibly enhancing the ventilation disorder. For several years, in our recommendations we have pointed out the secondary risks of increasing obesity. In addition, it is recommended for all children with PWS, in particular before institution of GH therapy, to have polysomnography and an otorhinolaryngologic examination performed, and tonsillectomy in the case of enlarged tonsils. Furthermore, upper airway infections should be treated aggressively.