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      Multivariate Analysis on Factors Affecting Suppression of Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone in Treated Congenital Hypothyroidism

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          Aims: To determine the factors which influence the suppression of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in infants with congenital hypothyroidism (CH) following treatment. Methods: We examined retrospectively the patterns of thyroid function tests from diagnosis to 3 years of age in 140 infants diagnosed with CH from screening. Patients were classified into 3 groups: athyreosis, ectopia and presumed dyshormonogenesis on the basis of thyroid scans. Adequate TSH suppression was defined as plasma TSH concentration <6 mU/l. The factors affecting the suppression of TSH at 6 months and 1 year of age which were evaluated were: initial confirmatory plasma TSH, initial plasma thyroxine (T4), mean age of starting treatment with L-T4, dose of L-T4 at diagnosis, 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months, and aetiology of the congenital hypothyroidism. Variables were then entered in a stepwise logistic regression model for TSH suppression at 6 months and 1 year of age. Results: All infants had radionuclide scans prior to treatment: athyreosis (n = 39), ectopia (n = 78) and dyshormonogenesis (n = 23). 58% of patients had persistently raised TSH at 6 months of age while 31% of patients had a persistently raised TSH at 1 year of age. There was a significant delay in the normalisation of plasma TSH in athyreosis and ectopia groups compared with dyshormonogenesis. Multiple regression analysis for TSH suppression at 6 months of age found plasma T4 levels and aetiology of CH as independent factors affecting the timing of TSH suppression. Aetiology of CH was the only independent factor affecting TSH suppression at 1 year of age. Conclusion: At 6 months of age, plasma T4 levels at 6 weeks and 3 months, and aetiology of CH were independent factors affecting timing of TSH suppression. However, by 1 year of age, the aetiology of CH was the only independent factor affecting suppression of TSH.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Congenital hypothyroidism: etiologies, diagnosis, and management.

           S LaFranchi (1999)
          Congenital hypothyroidism is a common preventable cause of mental retardation. The overall incidence is approximately 1:4000; females are affected about twice as often as males. Approximately 85% of cases are sporadic, while 15% are hereditary. The most common sporadic etiology is thyroid dysgenesis, with ectopic glands more common than aplasia or hypoplasia. While the pathogenesis of dysgenesis is largely unknown, some cases are now discovered to be the result of mutations in the transcription factors PAX-8 and TTF-2. Loss of function mutations in the thyrotropin (TSH) receptor have been demonstrated to cause some familial forms of athyreosis. The most common hereditary etiology is the inborn errors of thyroxine (T4) synthesis. Recent mutations have been described in the genes coding for the sodium/iodide symporter, thyroid peroxidase (TPO), and thyroglobulin. Transplacental passage of a maternal thyrotropin receptor blocking antibody (TRB-Ab) causes a transient form of familial congenital hypothyroidism. The vast majority of infants are now diagnosed after detection through newborn screening programs using a primary T4-backup TSH or primary TSH test. Screening test results must be confirmed by serum thyroid function tests. Thyroid scintigraphy, using 99mTc or 123I, is the most accurate diagnostic test to detect thyroid dysgenesis or one of the inborn errors of T4 synthesis. Thyroid sonography is nearly as accurate, but it may miss some cases of ectopic glands. If maternal antibody-mediated hypothyroidism is suspected, measurement of maternal and/or neonatal TRB-Ab will confirm the diagnosis. The goals of treatment are to raise the serum T4 as rapidly as possible into the normal range, adjust the levothyroxine dose with growth to keep the serum T4 (or free T4) in the upper half of the normal range and the TSH normal, and maintain normal growth and development while avoiding overtreatment. An initial starting dose of 10-15 microg/kg per day is recommended; this dose will decrease on a weight basis over time. Serum T4 (or free T4) and TSH should be monitored every 1-2 months in the first year of life and every 2-3 months in the second and third years.
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            Initial treatment dose of L-thyroxine in congenital hypothyroidism.

            To determine the optimal initial treatment dose of L-thyroxine in congenital hypothyroidism (CH) by evaluating the time course of rise of thyroxine (T(4)) and free T(4) concentrations into an established "target range" and normalization of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and to reevaluate the "target range" for T(4) and free T(4) concentrations during the first 2 weeks of CH treatment. Infants of birth weight 3 to 4 kg with CH (n = 47) detected by newborn screening were randomly assigned into three L-thyroxine treatment dose arms: 37.5 microg/day (group 1); 62.5 microg/day for 3 days, then 37.5 microg/day (group 2); and 50 microg/day (group 3). Serum T(4), free T(4), triiodothyronine (T(3)), free T(3), and TSH were measured before treatment and at 3 days and 1, 2, 4, 8, and 12 weeks after treatment. T(4) and free T(4) concentrations increased into the target range (10 to 16 microg/dL) by 3 days of therapy in infants in groups 2 and 3 and by 1 week in group 1; 50 microg/day (average 14.5 microg/kg/day) provided the most rapid normalization of TSH by 2 weeks. With the use of linear regression analysis of T(4) versus TSH or free T(4) versus TSH plots, the intercept at the lower range of normal for TSH (1.7 mU/L) showed T(4) = 19.5 microg/dL and free T(4) = 5.23 ng/dL. Initial dosing of 50 microg/day (12-17 microg/kg per day) raised serum T(4) and free T(4) concentrations to target range by 3 days and normalized TSH by 2 weeks of therapy. We recommend consideration of a somewhat higher "target range" of 10 to 18 microg/dL for T(4) and 2 to 5.0 ng/dL for free T(4) during the first 2 weeks of L-thyroxine treatment. After 2 weeks of treatment, the target range drops to 10 to 16 microg/dL for T(4) and 1.6 to 2.2 for free T(4).
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              Effect of different starting doses of levothyroxine on growth and intellectual outcome at four years of age in congenital hypothyroidism.

              To evaluate the effect of different initial levothyroxine (LT4) replacement doses on growth and intellectual outcome in patients with congenital hypothyroidism (CH) detected by neonatal screening program, the longitudinal growth and intelligence quotient (IQ) were assessed and compared at 4 years of age in 83 patients with CH. The patients were divided into three groups according to the initial LT4 dose used: (1) group 1 (n = 42) received the previously recommended dose of 6.0-8.0 microg/kg per day; (2) group 2 (n = 21) received a dose of 8.1-10.0 microg/kg per day; (3) Group 3 (n = 20) a dose of 10.1-15.0 microg/kg per day. The IQ, evaluated by the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence test at 4 years of age, was significantly higher in group 3 (IQ 98 +/- 9) compared to group 1 (IQ 88 +/- 13; p < 0.05) but not compared to group 2 (IQ 94 +/- 13). However, the IQs were below the normal range (< 85) in six patients from group 2 (28%), but in none of the patients from group 3 (p = 0.03). Patients from group 3, with severe CH at diagnosis, had an IQ (97 +/- 9) at 4 years of age, which was not different from that of patients from the same group with moderate CH at diagnosis (IQ 99 +/- 9). Similar results were also observed in patients from group 2 however, mean IQ scores in these patients (93 +/- 12) were several points lower than those observed in patients from group 3 (95 +/- 15). After the first month of treatment, optimal serum levels of thyroxine (T4) and free thyroxine (FT4) were achieved in all groups, however, only patients from group 3 were able to normalize thyrotropin (TSH) (group 1, 16.0 +/- 12.0; group 2, 9.2 +/- 10.0; and group 3, 2.4 +/- 3.3 mU/L; p < 0.0001). Twelve patients from group 2 treated with an initial LT4 dose above 9 microg/kg per day were able to normalize TSH levels within the first 3 months of life and this resulted in a better IQ (97 +/- 16) compared to the remaining patients from the same group (IQ 90 +/- 9). In the whole group of 83 patients the IQ at 4 years of age was positively correlated to both initial LT4 dosage (r = 0.27, p < 0.02) and FT4 concentrations after the first month of treatment (r = 0.29, p < 0.02), and negatively correlated to TSH concentrations after the first month of treatment (r = -0.27, p < 0.02). No significant differences were observed in height, weight, head circumference, and bone age maturation among the three groups of patients. No clinical signs or symptoms of overtreatment were observed during follow-up in patients receiving the higher LT4 dosage. Our results indicate that high LT4 starting doses rapidly normalize serum TSH concentrations resulting in an improvement of the IQ at 4 years of age, even in patients with severe CH at diagnosis. Growth and bone age maturation are not affected by such a high dose.

                Author and article information

                Horm Res Paediatr
                Hormone Research in Paediatrics
                S. Karger AG
                November 2004
                22 November 2004
                : 62
                : 5
                : 245-251
                Endocrinology Department, Royal Liverpool Children’s Hospital Alder Hey, Liverpool, UK
                81628 Horm Res 2004;62:245–251
                © 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Tables: 8, References: 27, Pages: 7
                Original Paper


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