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Hypothyroidism in preterm infants following normal screening

Hallett, Andrew Quentin, Evans, Carol, Moat, Stuart J., Barton, John S., Warner, Justin T. and Gregory, John Welbourn 2011. Hypothyroidism in preterm infants following normal screening. Annals of Clinical Biochemistry 48 (6) , pp. 572-574. 10.1258/acb.2011.010251

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Congenital hypothyroidism is screened for in the UK using blood spot thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) screening at 5–8 d of age. Although standards are set by the UK Newborn Screening Programme Centre, there are variations in TSH cut-offs used. The introduction of repeat screening of preterm babies at 36 weeks' gestational age in 2005 was controversial in its utility and timing. Two cases of preterm babies are presented, who had normal blood spot TSH values on the first test and who became screen positive when re-tested at term. The first with Trisomy 21 was born at 29 + 6 weeks with an initial blood spot TSH of 3.3 mU/L rising to 263 mU/L at term-corrected gestational age (plasma TSH 476.5 mU/L). The second was born at 24 + 6 weeks’ gestational age and on day 7, the heel prick blood spot TSH was <2 mU/L, rising to 6.4 mU/L at 36 weeks corrected gestational age. After a barium enema, the plasma TSH increased to 66.6 mU/L with a free thyroxine of 7.6 pmol/L at day 101. Both cases were treated with thyroxine until death due to complications of prematurity. These cases illustrate the difficulties in screening for congenital hypothyroidism in preterm infants, due to the immaturity of the hypothalamo–pituitary–thyroid axis, and the effect of intercurrent illness and drugs on thyroid function. Despite a reassuring published review of 2200 preterm infants, these cases suggest that it may be unwise not to re-screen ex-preterm infants for congenital hypothyroidism at term.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
Publisher: Royal Society of Medicine
ISSN: 0004-5632
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2022 11:34

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