, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 268–276 | Cite as

Diagnosis and management of acromegaly: the patient’s perspective

  • Ilonka Kreitschmann-AndermahrEmail author
  • Sonja Siegel
  • Bernadette Kleist
  • Johannes Kohlmann
  • Daniel Starz
  • Rolf Buslei
  • Maria Koltowska-Häggström
  • Christian J. Strasburger
  • Michael Buchfelder



Early diagnosis is a success factor for the prevention of long-term comorbidity and premature death in patients with acromegaly, but large-scale data on the diagnostic process and disease management are scarce. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the diagnostic process, implementation of treatment and changes in life situation in patients with acromegaly, focusing on sex-specific differences.


Non-interventional patient-reported outcome study. 165 patients with clinically and biochemically proven acromegaly were questioned about the diagnostic process and utilization of health care by means of a self-developed standardized postal survey including questions on acromegaly symptoms experienced before diagnosis, number and specialty of consulted doctors, time to diagnosis and aftercare.


The diagnostic process took 2.9 (SD 4.53) years, during which 3.4 (SD 2.99) physicians were consulted. Women waited longer [4.1 (SD 5.53) years] than men [1.6 (SD 2.69) years; p = 0.001] for the correct diagnosis, and consulted more doctors in the process [4.0 (SD 2.99) vs. 2.7 (SD 2.84) doctors, p < 0.001, respectively]. In 48.5 % of patients, acromegaly was diagnosed by an endocrinologist (men: 45.1 %; women: 52.4 %). Overall disease duration from symptom onset until last surgery was 5.5 (SD 6.85) years, with no sex differences. A change in employment status was the most commonly reported event after diagnosis and a quarter of the patients stated that the illness had changed their lives.


Our findings confirm the urgent need to increase awareness of the clinical manifestation of acromegaly to facilitate an earlier diagnosis of the disease and to provide diagnostic equality across the sexes.


Acromegaly Diagnosis Treatment Impairment Patient’s perspective 



This study was performed when the first two authors worked full-time at the Department of Neurosurgery, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. Some of the data were collected during the time in which J. Kohlmann completed his doctoral thesis.


The study was supported by an independent investigator-initiated grant from Ipsen, Germany. Editorial support and linguistic corrections were provided by Anna Bagińska MSc and Ashley Cooper BSc (Hons 1)/BJ from Proper Medical Writing Sp. z o.o., Poland, and funded by Ipsen, Germany.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

I. Kreitschmann-Andermahr, S. Siegel, B. Kleist, J. Kohlmann, R. Buslei, C.J. Strasburger, and M. Buchfelder have received speaker honoraria, travel grants, research grants and/or consultancy fees from companies manufacturing acromegaly medications, such as Ipsen, Novartis, CHIASMA and/or Pfizer. M. Koltowska-Häggström is a consultant to StrongBridge Biopharma. D. Starz declares no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilonka Kreitschmann-Andermahr
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Sonja Siegel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bernadette Kleist
    • 1
  • Johannes Kohlmann
    • 2
  • Daniel Starz
    • 2
  • Rolf Buslei
    • 3
  • Maria Koltowska-Häggström
    • 4
  • Christian J. Strasburger
    • 5
  • Michael Buchfelder
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgeryFriedrich-Alexander University (FAU) of Erlangen-NurembergErlangenGermany
  3. 3.Institute of NeuropathologyFriedrich-Alexander University (FAU) of Erlangen-NurembergErlangenGermany
  4. 4.Department of Women’s and Children’s HealthUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  5. 5.Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutritional MedicineCharité UniversitaetsmedizinBerlinGermany

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