Mild neonatal hyperthyrotrophinaemia: 10-year experience suggests the condition is increasingly common but often transient
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OBJECTIVE: To examine a large population of infants with mild neonatal hyperthyrotrophinaemia (MNH) and determine prevalence, clinical characteristics and treatment history. METHODS: Retrospective study of infants with MNH followed at The Hospital for Sick Children between 2000 and 2011. MNH was defined by an abnormal newborn screen followed by thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) between 5 and 30 mU/l and normal free T4 (FT4) on confirmatory tests. RESULTS: Mild neonatal hyperthyrotrophinaemia represented 22·3% of patients (103/462; 60 boys, 43 girls) within our clinic. Incidence increased from two of 20 in 2000 to 31 of 74 cases in 2010. Seventy eight percent of patients started L-thyroxine (initial dose: 8·3 ± 2·5 mcg/kg). The treated group had higher confirmatory TSH levels (P = 0·001) and had undergone thyroid scintigraphy more often (P = 0·0001) compared with the nontreated group. Evidence of overtreatment was detected in 45% of thyroid function tests obtained during treatment. Among the treated infants who had reached 3 years of age, 45% (N = 14) underwent a trial-off medication. Compared with those not trialled-off therapy, these infants were less likely to have had dose escalations during treatment (P = 0·001). The trial-off treatment was successful in 50% of cases. In the subset of infants with confirmatory TSH >10 mU/l, trial-off therapy was successful in 40%. None of the assessed variables predicted success of trial-off therapy. CONCLUSIONS: Mild neonatal hyperthyrotrophinaemia is an increasingly common diagnosis. It is more common in males and is often transient, but predictors of success of trial-off therapy were not identified. Further studies are needed to determine optimum L-thyroxine dosing and to determine whether treatment improves neurocognitive outcomes.
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