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July 1974

The Levodopa Test of Growth Hormone Reserve in Children

Author Affiliations

Department of Paediatrics University of Leeds 27 Blundell St Leeds LSI 3ET England

Am J Dis Child. 1974;128(1):117. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1974.02110260119032

To the Editor.—Numerous methods have been described for evaluating growth hormone (GH) reserve and the recent report by Dr. Porter and his associates in the November issue of the Journal (126:589-592, 1973) recommends the levodopa test as a good means of screening for GH deficiency. The test was considered superior to the insulin tolerance test in avoiding its potential dangers but being equally reliable. Yet, as a screening test, it would appear to have certain disadvantages. The procedure requires three days for its completion (presumably in the hospital) and blood samples taken half hourly for two to three hours in a patient in a fasting state. Some minor degree of discomfort occurred in about one third of patients in the form of nausea or vomiting. As a screening procedure, surely some simpler method, such as the response of GH to exercise, would be preferable.1 This test can be