Health and psychosocial status of patients with Turner syndrome after transition to adulthood : the Belgian experience
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Hormone research. - Basel
, p. 161-167
University of Antwerp
Background: Most girls with Turner syndrome (TS) are intensively followed by paediatricians, but are lost to follow-up when they reach adulthood. To gain insight into the adult medical and psychosocial situation, we performed a survey in young adult TS patients. Patients and Methods: A questionnaire concerning current health status, education, occupation and living situation was sent to 160 young adult TS women, all treated during childhood with GH and oestrogen if needed. Results: We received 102 completed questionnaires. Mean+/-SD age at reception of the questionnaire was 23.4+/-3.3 years, height 153.3+/-5.2 cm, body mass index 23.7+/-4.9 kg/m(2). Age and auxological parameters were comparable between responders and non-responders. Thirteen (12.7%) responders were not under regular medical care; 15 (14.7%) were seen by a general practitioner, while 28 (27.4%) needed several specialists. Forty-one (40.2%) patients reported health problems. The most frequently reported problem was hypertension (10.7%), followed by hypothyroidism (5.8%) and back problems (4.9%). Twenty-four (23.5%) of the 41 patients were taking medication for the indicated health problems. Twenty-six (25.5%) women had undergone spontaneous puberty; 16 of them reported spontaneous menstruations while 10 received oestrogen replacement therapy. Of the 76 women with induced puberty, 11 (14.5%) were not taking any oestrogen anymore. Compared with the general population, more TS women attended university and more obtained higher education. Forty-six women (45.1%) were working full-time, 7 (6.9%) were unemployed, and 4 (3.9%) received an allocation. Seventy (68.6%) patients were still living with their parents, while 18 (17.6%) were living together or married, and 14 (13.7%) were living alone. Conclusions: The transition of adolescents with TS to adult medical care is not optimal in Belgium. Although 40.2% of these young women reported health problems, 12.7% did not consult any physician. Many TS women did not take oestrogen replacement therapy. A specialized multidisciplinary approach for adults with TS is needed in order to optimize health and psychosocial status in these women. Copyright (C) 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel.