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Human growth hormone in delayed union and non-union of fractures

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1. Human growth hormone (HGH) was administered to a series of 20 adult patients admitted to hospital because of delayed union or non-union of a fracture of a long bone. They included 15 tibial shaft fractures and other bone lesions with a poor prognosis for consolidation. Their progress was studied and compared with suitable controls.

2. Bone union occurred in all 20 patients and the time required for stabilization was 8 weeks or less in 12 cases, and 12 weeks or less in 17 cases (60% and 85% of the series respectively). No excessive callus formation was observed.

3. Several metabolic parameters indicative of active bone metabolism showed an increase from the start of HGH treatment up to 3 weeks, followed by either decline or a constant up to 5 weeks.

4. The endogenous serum HGH level was strikingly low and presented a negative correlation with the consolidation time.

The rapid consolidation of the fractures suggested that HGH therapy has a bone union promoting effect.


1. L'hormone humaine de croissance (HHC) a été administrée à une série de 20 malades hospitalisés pour retard de consolidation ou pseudarthrose diaphysaire. Parmi eux, il y avait 15 fractures du tibia et d'autres lésions osseuses dont la consolidation paraissait compromise. Leur évolution a été étudiée et comparée à celle d'un groupe témoin.

2. La consolidation a été obtenue chez les 20 malades, en 8 semaines ou moins dans 12 cas et en 12 semaines ou moins dans 17 cas (soit 60% et 85% de la série). Il n'y a pas eu de cal hypertrophique.

3. Plusieurs paramètres en relation avec un métabolisme osseux actif ont augmenté pendant les 3 semaines qui ont suivi la mise en route du traitement par l'HHC, puis sont restés au même niveau ou ontdiminué jusqu'à la 5éme semaine.

4. L'HHC sérique d'origine endogène était à un niveau extrêmement bas, en relation inverse avec la durée de la consolidation.

L'obtention rapide de la consolidation de ces fractures permet de penser que le traitement par l'HHC exerce un effet favorable sur la fusion osseuse.

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Correspondence to Erkki V. S. Koskinen.

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Koskinen, E.V.S., Lindholm, R.V., Nieminen, R.A. et al. Human growth hormone in delayed union and non-union of fractures. International Orthopaedics 1, 317–322 (1978). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00572258

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Key words

  • Fracture
  • Non-united fracture
  • Growth hormone