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The objective of this study was to screen for acromegaly by application of a simple questionnaire in patients seen at primary health care units. A total of 17,000 patients of both genders >18 and <70 years seen by general practitioner were interviewed. Patients with known pituitary disease and pregnant women were excluded. A simple questionnaire was applied to the patients: Has your shoe size increased over the last 5 years? Did you have to change your wedding ring or ring over the last 5 years because it became tight? In one patient, the diagnosis of acromegaly was suspected by the physician. Among the remaining patients, 178 (1%) responded positively to one of the items of the questionnaire and were submitted to IGF-1 measurement. Five patients had persistently elevated IGF-1 and inadequate suppression of GH in the OGTT (without other conditions associated with GH or IGF-1 elevation). One of these patients presented a normal pituitary upon magnetic resonance imaging and adenoma was detected in the other four; two presented the typical facies and two others reported changes in physiognomy (confirmed by the comparison of photographs), in addition to the enlargement of extremities. The present investigation suggests a much higher prevalence of acromegaly in the adult population than that reported traditionally. We propose that screening based on phenotypic alterations is cost-effective since these changes occur early and almost universally in acromegaly and are uncommon in the general population.
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Obstetrics and gynaecology
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