ISSN 1470-3947 (print) | ISSN 1479-6848 (online)

Endocrine Abstracts (2019) 66 OC5.2 | DOI: 10.1530/endoabs.66.OC5.2

Longitudinal outcomes of well, term infants who present with persistent hyperthyrotropinaemia

Sze May Ng, Tal Oryan, Nancy Katkat, Kayode Ayoede & Mahreen Aleem


Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, Southport, UK


Background: Neonatal hyperthyrotropinaemia (HT) is defined by elevated thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and normal free-thyroxine (FT4) level. Persistent HT in the neonatal period is often a diagnostic dilemma for clinicians to either treat to prevent subclinical hypothyroidism or to wait and monitor thyroid function tests (TFTs).

Methods: As part of an audit, 1449 term infants who had TFTs undertaken as part of a prolonged jaundice screen from 2012–2017 were reviewed. Infants with HT (defined by TSH>5 mU/l) were followed up in clinic. We evaluated perinatal factors and TFTs were monitored in 2–4 weeks, then regularly 2–4 monthly until 2 years of age or until HT resolved.

Results: There were 37 term infants (27 males) with a raised TSH (>5 mU/l) and normal FT4 level over the 5-year period. This represents 2.6% of the 1449 term infants found to have HT. All infants with HT were born in good condition. Mean gestation was 38.1 weeks (±2.1 S.D., range 33.1–42.0). 4 infants had Trisomy 21 and 3 infants had a maternal history of hypothyroidism. In 2 infants, we started levothyroxine treatment due to rising TSH and falling FT4 levels. 9% of infants had TSH normalised to 5 mU/l in 4 weeks without treatment, 54% normalised their TSH in 8 weeks, 83% normalised in 3–6 months, 94% normalised in 12 months and 1 patient had persistent TSH >5 mU/l which did not require treatment at 24 months.

Conclusions: In 95% of all the cases of HT in well term infants, the natural course was that the TSH resolved to normal < 5 mU/l by 2 years of age. In 3% of cases, TSH remained elevated (> 5 mU/l) at 2 years but FT4 levels were normal and in the upper quartile range (>15 pmol/l) without treatment. We recommend TFTs monitoring due to the risk of decompensation although the risk of decompensation is low; and frequency of monitoring can be reduced after 2 years.

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