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Rapid-onset Obesity with Hypothalamic Dysfunction, Hypoventilation, and Autonomic Dysregulation (ROHHAD) is a rare and complex pediatric disorder . Children typically show ROHHAD after the first years of life with rapid weight gain and subsequently autonomic nervous system dysregulation (altered pain perception, pupillary dysfunction, hypothermia and bradycardia); alveolar hypoventilation with risk of cardiorespiratory arrest and hypothalamic dysfunction (central diabetes insipidus, hypothyroidism, growth hormone and corticotrophin deficiency). Tumours of neural crest origin, such as ganglioneuroblastoma and ganglioneuronoma, are reported in 33% of the patients and may be found in the chest or abdomen. Here we describe two girls who presented with rapid weight gain, at the age of 5 and 9 years respectively. The first was admitted due to obesity and central hypothyroidism. After two months she rapidly developed a clinical picture characterized by thermal dysregulation, hypodipsia and severe hypernatriemia, hypertrigliceridemia, alveolar hypoventilation supported by mechanical ventilation. The second presented with rapid-onset obesity and a mild hyperprolactinemia. After three months of follow- up she was admitted due to a clinical picture of hypothermia, seizures and hyponatremia. Subsequentely she developed altered water balance (severe hypernatremia) and severe hypoventilation . Chest CT and MR imaging showed a posterior mediastinal mass. Endocrinological investigation showed corticotrophin deficiency and central hypothyroidism treated with specific replacement therapies. Conclusions: On the basis of our experiences we can infer that it is necessary perform specific further investigations of hypothalamic function in all the children with rapid onset obesity in order to early prevent the catastrophic consequences that may occur in this syndrome.
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