Thyroid dysfunction in preterm infants born before 32 gestational weeks

Hye Rim Kim, Young Hwa Jung, Chang Won Choi, Hye Rim Chung, Min Jae Kang, Beyong Il Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Thyroid hormones are critical for growth and brain development during the newborn period and infancy. Because of delayed maturation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis in preterm infants, thyroid dysfunction is common, and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) elevation is often delayed in preterm infants. The objective of this study was to determine the incidence of thyroid dysfunction requiring levothyroxine treatment and to identify its risk factors in preterm infants. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed on preterm infants who were born before 32 gestational weeks and admitted to a single tertiary academic center for more than 8 weeks between January 2008 and December 2014. In these infants, serial thyroid function tests (TFTs) measuring serum TSH and free thyroxine (fT4) were routinely performed at 1, 3, and 6 weeks of postnatal age. Results: Of the 220 preterm infants enrolled, 180 infants underwent TFTs at 1, 3, and 6 weeks of postnatal age and were included in the study. Of the 180 infants, 35 infants (19.4%) were started on levothyroxine treatment based on the results of serial TFTs. Among the 35 infants who were treated with levothyroxine, 16 infants (45.7%) had normal results on the initial TFT. Three of these 16 infants continued to have normal results on the second TFT. Thyroid dysfunction requiring levothyroxine treatment was significantly associated with maternal pregnancy-induced hypertension (adjusted odds ratio 2.64, 95% confidence interval 1.02-6.81). Conclusions: Thyroid dysfunction requiring levothyroxine treatment occurred in nearly one-fifth of preterm infants born before 32 gestational weeks. Nearly half of the preterm infants who were treated with levothyroxine had normal TSH and fT4 levels at 1 week of postnatal age. The findings of the present study suggest that serial TFTs is important to find preterm infants who require levothyroxine treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number391
JournalBMC Pediatrics
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 29 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • Premature infants
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Thyroid function test

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