The aim was to formulate practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of congenital hypothyroidism (CH).
A systematic literature search was conducted to identify key articles relating to the screening, diagnosis, and management of CH. The evidence-based guidelines were developed with the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system, describing both the strength of recommendations and the quality of evidence. In the absence of sufficient evidence, conclusions were based on expert opinion.
Thirty-two participants drawn from the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology and five other major scientific societies in the field of pediatric endocrinology were allocated to working groups with assigned topics and specific questions. Each group searched the literature, evaluated the evidence, and developed a draft document. These papers were debated and finalized by each group before presentation to the full assembly for further discussion and agreement.
The recommendations include: worldwide neonatal screening, approaches to assess the cause (including genotyping) and the severity of the disorder, the immediate initiation of appropriate L-T 4 supplementation and frequent monitoring to ensure dose adjustments to keep thyroid hormone levels in the target ranges, a trial of treatment in patients suspected of transient CH, regular assessments of developmental and neurosensory functions, consulting health professionals as appropriate, and education about CH. The harmonization of diagnosis, management, and routine health surveillance would not only optimize patient outcomes, but should also facilitate epidemiological studies of the disorder. Individuals with CH require monitoring throughout their lives, particularly during early childhood and pregnancy.